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Students largely unsatisfied with campus internet; what next?

By Anirudh S.K., ASP'23

In light of the general mood among the student body regarding campus internet, The Edict put some numbers to students’ thoughts and feelings through a survey. Here’s what was found:

  • Most students think poorly of their RH’s Wi-Fi

81.5% of the respondents thought their RH’s Wi-Fi was on the poorer side, with 40.8% and 41.7% saying their experience was ‘Very Poor’ and ‘Poor’ respectively.

  • More students are unhappy with campus internet speed than those who are happy.

More than 3 in 4 respondents had a ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’ experience with the campus internet’s speed.

  • Almost all survey participants are unsatisfied with how much of campus the Wi-Fi covers.

  • More than half of the respondents experienced internet fluctuations in classroom settings on campus at least ‘often’.

18.4% and 35.9% of the students who filled the survey experienced internet fluctuations in classroom settings because of campus-Wi-Fi ‘All the time’ and ‘Often’ respectively.

  • Students mostly report positive experiences in interacting with the IT Helpdesk.

48.5% of the respondents characterized their experience consulting the IT Helpdesk as at least ‘Good’, while 18.4% had a ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’ experience doing so. A third (33%) of the respondents had never visited the IT Helpdesk as of answering our survey.

  • Almost 3 in 4 students want the streaming service-restrictions on campus Wi-Fi revised.

74.8% of the respondents were against the restriction on accessing streaming services using campus internet. This ‘restriction’ refers to the administration’s decision in March 2021 to block access to video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime – also called ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) streaming services – on campus internet during class hours.

Announcing the restriction by email, the administration’s IT wing said that the use of OTT streaming services on campus was a primary reason why faculty members experienced disruptions in their internet connection while conducting classes from campus.

Changes in internet policy and infrastructure

The Edict spoke with the IT Helpdesk and the Technology Ministry about the steps they are taking to accommodate the connectivity needs of a fully offline campus.

Now that the vast majority of classes are being held offline, we asked the Helpdesk if OTT streaming will continue being restricted on the campus internet. They said that they look forward to the restriction being lifted eventually, but noted that some classes still use online lectures in some capacity. They also said that they have not received any communication from the admin about when they will lift the restriction.

The Technology Ministry said they were in support of lifting the restriction, and that they “are actively working towards the revision of the OTT policy.”

Both the Helpdesk and the Ministry indicated that measures have been implemented on campus to accommodate a larger student body. Some of these include:

  • Increased and improved access points for the Wi-Fi, like in the lawns and near the Dhaba

  • Increasing the number of students that the campus internet infrastructure can handle

  • Increasing the ISP bandwidth by 76%

  • Improving the campus internet’s firewall

The latter two changes were made before Monsoon 2022 began, and the former two after.

Both the IT Helpdesk and the Ministry of Technology seem eager to fix the issues at hand. However, it is also important to note that the same concerns have persisted for a long period of time. As the student body continues to grow every year, one hopes for an improvement in the quality of internet on campus. Only time – and perhaps another survey – will tell whether the improvements that the administration pursues have successfully trickled down to every student on campus.

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