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SCC WiFi Goes Lo-Fi

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There’s a brand new on-campus Wi-Fi procedure for Winter Quarter and heads up: it’s a little buggy

In previous terms, the WiFi password was non-user specific; it was posted publicly in the halls and changed at the beginning of each new quarter.  Unfortunately, this didn’t keep non-students from popping their heads in, getting the new password, logging on, and using up our bandwidth, bringing all of us to a slow grind.

This quarter, SCC has decided to combat the problem of local neighborhood WiFi bandits by having students and faculty login with their SID and password, the same credentials used to login to any school computer.  On top of that, inactive WiFi connections are booted after 3 hours, and active connections after 6 hours. If you hang out longer than that, you’ll need to re-enter your SID and password. Seems a little extra, since only active SID accounts will have access in the first place; if clearing the network of logins is actually necessary, seems like doing so at midnight would be a better choice.

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However, there is also some sort of hardware glitch, according to staff at the IT desk in the computer lab.  WiFi signal is emitted by WiFi nodes, of which SCC has six, and if you login at one node and later relocate to a different part of the campus, the new node might not, for whatever reason, reconnect with your computer, phone, or tablet.  Current short-term solutions involve restarting at the new location or signing in with a Hotspot or similar if available; some students report not being taken to the login page at all on a particular day, and restarting also seems to “fix” the issue in the moment.  Leaving the login page open in a browser tab might be smart; the login page itself suggests that you bookmark it for future reference. There may well be other short-term work-arounds depending on the device in question.

As is so often the case, this fix produced more problems than it solved but all is not lost, as none of this is chiseled into stone.  The recalcitrant nodes and intermittent login window seem like necessarily fixable issues, and the 3 to 6 hour WiFi use policy could either be removed entirely or redone so as to wipe the network at some fixed time, or after 12 hours or more, or whatever.  Ultimately, the initial solution could work out very well with some minor tweaks and some hardware/software troubleshooting. The trick, of course, will be to get the administration to prioritize these issues.

So! If you’re having issues, you can drop by the IT Center in the BE building, room 2123, and report your concerns.  Be nice to whomever is at the desk, as none of this is their fault, but do make your voices heard; the administration cares about our opinions.  Our numbers matter: we’re paying customers, after all, and these are services provided by our tuition dollars. Go get your money’s worth.

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