BobcatNet revamped

By on September 25, 2014

Like many colleges around the country, a certain standard is expected when using the internet. A recent initiative to revamp BobcatNet, headed by Chris Desilets and Anisha Manglani of the Student Government Association, has gone through the process of upgrading Bobcat Net to provide a more hospitable Ethernet experience for QU students.

“There wasn’t enough space or speed in the network to allow 6,000 students to live here on that network” Desilets said. “It all shows up when you have buffering, whether you’re watching Youtube, Netflix, trying to download a file from Blackboard, it’s going to be slow, because it affects everyone the same way.”

Access points were as old as 2006, and since technology evolves at a rapid rate, Information Technology realized the need for an upgrade. In order to combat this, SGA, along with Chief Information Security Officer, Brian Kelly, increased the number of access points within dormitories. The number of access points jumped from 846 to 1085.

Along with this increase, the access points, both old and new, were installed in locations that would better suit the student’s internet experience.

“[The old access points] were on the wall and the signal was designed to propagate outward,” Kelly said. “The new ones only come in ceiling mounted.”

This, along with access points being better located within areas such as residential halls, creates a bubble in which the students are always in range of an internet access point, according to Kelly.

Other improvements included the upgrade on the amount of space the network allowed. Back in 2006, the old access points could only hold one gigabyte. Now, after the upgrade, the network can now support two gigabytes of space. The doubled number leads to less buffering on the students’ end, and a more enjoyable internet experience for all.

Kelly compares the before and after by using the last two iOS launches as an example.

“A year ago when IOS 7 came out this place was like an LA Freeway at rush hour,” Kelly said. “There was nothing moving. We went through Wednesday and Thursday (IOS 8’s launch time) fine. The capacity really helped us for those types of things.”

The amount of space the network now allows has been vastly improved.

“Now we can see that there is extra space on the network we can see where the activity is peaking,” Manglani said. “It’s peaking around 1.2, 1.4 gigabytes at the most. So there is more than enough space on the network as of now.”

Many students might not realize the network’s size, a network that spans the entirety of North Haven, York Hill and Mount Carmel’s campuses.

“I think students have to realize this is a huge network,” Desilets said. “And we’re seeing anywhere from 30,000 to 33,000 devices at any given point. It’s laptops, it’s tablets, it’s phones, it’s locks, heating and air conditioning is run through the Bobcat Net. This makes the relevance of the upgrade of the available network space even greater.”

Minor complaints, such as students being unable to connect their Xbox or Smart TVs to the network can be fixed by providing your devices MAC address to the tech center, which is located in the library.

Students still notice that the Bobcat Network is still unreliable from time to time, but agree that the situation is getting better.

“Seems like it’s gotten faster,” senior film, video and interactive media major Sean McLaughlin said. “It’s not completely different. I’d say it’s pretty consistent since I’ve been here. People need to take into consideration the area and the population of the area it’s been covering. I think students should be pretty grateful to have access (internet) in their dorms.”

Some students said while the network is still shaky, the overall speed has improved.

Christopher McDougall, a sophomore studying Game Design, concludes

“It’s not the most reliable,” sophomore Christopher McDougall said. “But it gets the job done. It has gotten a little better this year.”

According to SGA and Brian Kelly, long term plans are set for sustaining and keeping Bobcat Net up to date, and the administration will be watching how the network reacts to the increase in students and their devices. This long term plan ensures that Quinnipiac’s Bobcat Net will be able to keep up with current technological demands, and that students will have their basic recreational needs, such as an up to date internet connection.

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