Wireless Service Leaves Students On Campus Frustrated

A survey of student’s thoughts on recent Wi-Fi issues


In the past few weeks, many CNU students experienced issues with the reliability of on-campus Wi-Fi. Once CNU IT Services (ITS) became aware of the matter, they sent several updates to the student body as they worked to resolve the issue. 

On Jan. 18, ITS released an email stating that they were aware of “intermittent issues” with the wireless service on campus, but that they intended to reboot their equipment in order to troubleshoot. In a follow up email the next day, ITS wrote that they believed the issue had been fixed and they encouraged students to disconnect and reconnect to the “eduroam” Wi-Fi. 

They also said, “We apologize for the inconvenience and our goal is always to provide a consistent and reliable wireless experience. We understand how important wireless is to your success as students, faculty, and staff here at Christopher Newport.”

When the Wi-Fi problems continued, ITS announced on Jan. 20 that they were aware of an issue and their technicians and vendor support were working to solve the problem.

Four days later on Jan. 24, students received another email from ITS who said that the issue was identified and fixed. They noted that students should reach out to the ITS helpdesk if they are still experiencing problems. 

Such issues left many students feeling frustrated with the quality of the Wi-Fi on campus. One student even created a petition for better Wi-Fi that received 116 signatures. 

To gauge how the Wi-Fi problems have specifically affected students’ day-to-day lives, The Captain’s Log conducted an online survey. A google form survey was released through The Captain’s Log official Instagram shortly after the Jan. 24 email from ITS. 

24 different students filled out the survey, sharing what types of issues they experienced and whether or not they were satisfied with how the matter was handled. 

Of the surveyed students, 95.8% said that they had issues with CNU Wi-Fi recently. 87.5% of the students said that they were not satisfied with how ITS handled the issue. 

Students reported a variety of problems, such as dropping connection in and out, lagging, refusal to connect, and the inability to load some websites. 

Junior communication studies major, Whit Flores, wrote in the survey, “In Potomac, I have had trouble loading my email, much less videos. I’m in media studies and I have to watch stuff for HW. My class had trouble connecting to eduroam at all in Luter. I am normally not one to complain about partially losing a privilege many don’t have. In this case however… [a]ccess to the Internet is required as a student at CNU. We are expected to have it, so I argue we are allowed to expect it (for all that we are paying).”

Other students expressed frustration with how the faulty Wi-Fi affected other aspects of their lives, beyond classroom time. 

For example, Sydney Johnson, a junior communication major, said, “I had an interview for a very important internship and the Wi-Fi made my zoom call lag and made me unable to hear what they were saying and I couldn’t see it either. It’s frustrating how Cnu’s Wi-Fi is going to affect my future.”

Another student, Chip Herrera, a sophomore theater major, said,  “My phone signal is already very poor in this area, so I rely on the school Wi-Fi to carry me through the day. However, neither my phone nor computer can do simple tasks as open up Scholar half of the time. Certain spaces on campus are practically signal dead zones, when eduroam is supposedly supposed to have a further reach than the old Wi-Fi system.”

 Herrera continued, “I had to make some very important doctor’s appointments the other day, and only had time to do them while on campus. Yet even when in the library, the websites would not load and my calls were constantly dropping, resulting in me having to delay these appointments as a result. My signal is constantly cutting out, and even when connected it is extremely slow.”

Most students were unhappy with the fact that the recent Wi-Fi issues often prevented them from doing certain things, and sometimes even created more work. 

“I couldn’t even make phone calls let alone face times. My mom was worried [about] me because texts wouldn’t send. I had to redo assignments because I kept losing them because I would get knocked off the wifi. It still isn’t working on my computer,” wrote freshman Annabelle Dreher, a communication major. 

When asked what they hope ITS will do in the future, many felt that whatever fixes had been implemented were not enough. While a few students acknowledged the efforts made by ITS, others hope for a more permanent solution or at least faster identification of the problem. 

One freshman student, Nolan Reynolds, said, “I wish that CNU IT would not put out misleading statements such as “we have solved connectivity problems” when they have clearly not, or what they claim worked in only their controlled environments, not when thousands of users are on the system.”

The Captain’s Log reached out to the university and ITS to ask about the issues, but have not heard back yet.