Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Trinair is an obstacle to student success on campus

KARAN KHURANA ’17

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Coming from a developing country, the quality of my Internet connection is something I am always concerned about.

I had big expectations for everything Trinity College had to offer, from professors, to food, to parties, and as trivial as it may sound, I had big expectations for Trinity’s technology, especially its Wi-Fi. When I first arrived in 2013, the now infamous Trinair was adequate; definitely better than the Wi-Fi that I had back home in Mumbai, India.

However, an outstanding problem with Trinair is that the connection always seems to be broken. This problem can be fixed by reconnecting to the Wi-Fi network no less than a few frustrating times. However, with the cost of attending Trinity College rising each year, I truly believe that these problems should not be occurring at all. As undergraduates, we have a lot of deadlines to uphold, and frankly a lot of us leave things for the last minute. A broken Wi-Fi connection when trying to submit a paper is something that cannot be used as an excuse, yet it can be the true reason for the late paper submission!

Social media apps, namely Yik Yak, thrive on Trinity’s campus and play a strong role in eliciting students’ feelings about Trinair. Most days, you can’t go on Yik Yak without seeing some negative comment about the Wi-Fi.

Our administration has been active on the app and is aware of some of the more hostile “yaks” about the social atmosphere but seems to not bat an eye when it comes to trying to improve connectivity on campus. From my own experience, no matter where I am on campus, the Wi-Fi disconnects from my laptop at least 3 times when I attempt to connect to Trinair. It takes over five minutes from when I select the network until I can use it, which is just enough time to submit a late paper.

Amanda Lundergan ’17, Arts and Entertainment Editor, described an issue she had very recently with Trinair. “Last week I was writing a paper, and made sure to finish early… I was excited to submit to Moodle ahead of time. But lo and behold, Trinair went down and stayed down for the rest of the night, and my essay was late.” This is something that I and nearly all other students have experienced far too often.

Lundergan noted that this was not the only problem she’s had with the Wi-Fi on campus. She explained, “Also, since I travel to New York every week, I was struggling with lugging my big, heavy laptop around with me. I went out to Best Buy and bought a brand new, lightweight, compact Chromebook. I was having trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi. After visiting the IT Desk in the library, I was told that Chromebooks just simply do not connect to Trinair, and I would have to constantly use an Ethernet cord wherever I use my laptop. Not only would this be an extreme inconvenience, but also my Chromebook does not have a port that would attach to an Ethernet cord.  I feel as if I am not receiving the amount of technological support that a college student should receive.”

Looking at the bigger picture, students seem to think that lack of response to the issue is the administration deliberately not taking action. The lax attitude is something that we are aware of because of the non-stop complaints about Trinair.

The Trinity College administration can easily set up more Wi-Fi repeaters in order to get stronger connectivity around the school in all of the necessary buildings, and avoid the problem of lost connectivity for students. Repeaters are often used with great success to extend the coverage area of Wi-Fi. This is definitely a sustainable long-term investment for the Trinity College campus community because Wi-Fi repeaters are relatively inexpensive.

Instead of students expressing their opinions anonymously on apps like Yik-Yak, they should be more outspoken and search for productive and tangible solutions to these campus-wide problems that currently pose as a challenge to student success.

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