May: The RSC’s WiFi nightmare isn’t getting better any time soon


Tanat Maichan

Rhatigan Student Center – file photo

Imagine this. You’re sitting in the RSC, eating lunch and trying to hurry through your online calc homework before class. You work through the problem, enter your solution into the answer bar, and click submit, only to realize that the Wi-Fi had failed you long before. First world problems, am I right?

While this may seem like a somewhat silly complaint, I cannot tell you how many deadlines I personally have missed due to the spotty-at-best internet in the busiest building on campus. Perhaps more worrisome for a chronic procrastinator, I have wasted countless hours simply trying to get videos to buffer in the technological dead zone that is the first floor from the hours of 11 to 1.

To make matters worse, the majority of cell providers, in my experience, have at best limited service in Rhatigan, and the excessive number of people on campus at that time only makes it worse.

To be clear, the issue is not one of speed. When the RSC is empty, such as on the weekends, the speed is more than adequate. The true root of the issue lies in the bandwidth. For those of you who aren’t STEM nerds, greater bandwidth allows more devices to operate with greater speeds.

Perhaps the best way to visualize this is to draw an analogy to plumbing. Normally, the water pressures in your house will be strong through all the faucets. However, if the faucets are all simultaneously turned on, the pressure will likely drop dramatically.

If you pack a building with a few hundred college students, all of whom are accessing the internet on at least one device, it’ll be less like a single house full of running faucets, and more like a neighborhood — slowing internet speeds to an infuriating crawl.

What can be done to increase your productivity during mid-day class breaks? Well, the short answer is to stay out of the RSC. If you go into a less-populated building, the internet will be significantly better. Even in less populated areas of the Rhatigan, the internet seems to be a little bit faster, but that may just be my own antisocial tendencies playing mind games. Perhaps the best answer would be to not put off any assignments until your lunch break — at least not in a last-second effort.

Though the RSC Wi-Fi’s unreliability is a major issue in the lives of most every Wichita State student, it’s not one that’s likely to change in the near future, barring a technological breakthrough the likes of which we haven’t seen since, well, Wi-Fi itself.