By Carolyn Conte | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne’s wireless internet service is undergoing major renovations that will be complete within a year, according to Chuck Bartel, assistant vice president and chief information officer for Duquesne’s computing and technology services.
Duqnet has recently come under fire on campus after a network shutdown over Labor Day weekend.
“Last weekend, when it went down, I had to submit something by a certain time, so I got a zero percent,” international relations major Larissa Koumaka said. “They really need to make it more accessible and reliable.”
The planned improvements to Duqnet include connecting to the same network as the University of Pittsburgh, which is called Three Rivers Optimal Exchange (3ROX), according to McCarthy. He described 3ROX as a high-speed network hub used primarily for educational facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
“We’re anticipating that that will fix the problems,” Bartel said.
Bartel said the connection to 3ROX will also solve the problem of “blocked websites.” According to Bartel, websites that do not function well on campus, such as Spotify and Netflix, are over-used and therefore slowed down, but not blocked.
“It’s based on traffic,” Bartel said. “For example, Netflix may be heavily used. A lot of that will be taken care of by 3ROX.”
Adrian Vergot, adjunct computer science professor, said Duquesne’s filter system also slows down wireless connections. According to Vergot, these filters are intended to prevent students from viewing hateful or illegal material.
“Any time you add a filtering system it slows a network down,” Vergot said. “Every piece of information has to go through the filters.”
The network is most heavily trafficked between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., which is when most delays happen, according to Sheryl Reinhard, director of systems, operations and network at Duquesne.
McCarthy said the network also struggles during weekends, when students tend to bring new equipment onto campus.
“We run into a lot of issues when students bring in a new device over the weekend,” McCarthy explained.
The offending devices include HP printers and Xbox consoles which can cause disturbances.
Another part of the Duqnet renovations is updating the physical technology on campus to the current industry standard, a system called 802.11c. This should lead to faster speeds, according to Hank McCarthy, network manager for Duqnet.
This system has been in place on some parts of campus for months, but it will now be implemented across campus. According to Bartel, the CTS department was waiting for what he called the “sweet spot” in new technology, where the pricing is approachable but the services still current, before upgrading.
So far, St. Anne’s, Assumption, Brottier and Des Places already have been fitted with the new technology.