The school internet connection speed has devolved to something from the dinosaur ages of the internet. In 1995, I experienced the internet for the first time on a 56kbps (56 Kilobits per second) modem. It was glorious; in an instant I had the world at my fingertips. However, when the connection speeds at GRCC degrade to dial-up speeds from 11:00a.m. and 1:00p.m., I no longer have feelings of euphoria. Instead, I can’t begin to understand how we as students are expected to do anything web-related for our classes.
I recently began to notice that the internet at GRCC was not always what I hoped it would be. Often times, simply connecting to blackboard, downloading assignments, or checking my email changes from a simple routine task to something more akin to watching paint dry. Granted, the speeds vary throughout the day.
I recently began to run tests at various times on campus utilizing the tools at http://www.speedtest.net. During prime-time hours (11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m.), speeds often dip to as low as .1mbps (mega-bits per second). In comparison, Travis Bulthuis from Grand Valley stated that internet on GVSU’s campus rarely drops below 5mbps. Derek Slenk, a recent Calvin graduate, recalled similar numbers from Calvin. This means that GRCC’s internet is functioning at one-fiftieth the speed of other large colleges in the area.
These slow speeds are unacceptable. With more classes being offered online and more professors moving to a paper-less classroom, the technology on campus should also improve to support the changes. When planning my day, I should not have to anticipate finishing homework before the internet becomes frozen.
Another problem with the internet on campus is the prioritizing of wired in computers over wireless computers. Speed-tests consistently show that a wired computer averaged two times the speed of a wireless computer. I don’t see why this would be the case. I have my laptop set-up to work best for me, but often move to a desktop because the wireless internet is not useable.
Finally, as someone with an hour commute to school, I plan all bunches of classes in the same day. This often means that I have a significant amount of down-time in between classes. Normally, I would have no problem spending a few hours online playing games, checking email, or touching base with friends. However, over my lunch hours, I have found that I can’t do these things. Instead, I need to leave campus just to have internet to entertain myself.
In short, the internet speeds available on campus are simply too slow for what is being expected of them. As GRCC continues to strive to keep on the leading edge of technology in education, these slow speeds will need to be addressed.