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Zachary Maley/The News

Hart Residential College’s Wi-Fi loses reliability likely because of Netflix and similar streaming websites

Story by Bailey Bohannan, Staff writer


Zachary Maley/The News

Students who are residents of Hart Residential College are complaining about the lack of Internet stability for social, personal and academic reasons, but the problem lies in their own overuse, university officials say.

The college head of Hart, Greg Gierhart, reached out to IT to get the connection problem fixed, and IT officials have guessed at what is overwhelming the system.

Using Netflix and other movie streaming sites is likely causing the unreliable Wi-Fi, said Tommy Phillips, the director of Network and Telecommunications Services.

“The challenge we are currently facing is not the number of users but the nature of what those users are doing,” said Phillips, who has been working at Murray State for 18 years.

Autumn Moffitt, freshman from Alpharetta, Georgia, said her Internet isn’t exactly slow, but it will randomly go in and out. She said she has noticed this trend of unreliability on Mondays and Sundays, and each time her computer won’t connect, she has to restart her computer and reconnect to the Internet. This simple task only takes about five minutes, but she said it can be very frustrating.

Cassie Breiten, freshman from St. Louis, said this has affected every aspect of how she uses the Internet.

Breiten said she is in Introduction to Probability and Statistics, which uses MyStatLab to complete and submit math homework. Each assignment can have a time limit set, where, once started, students only have that specific amount of time to complete the assignment and submit it.

“I was just trying to do my math homework, on MyStatLab; halfway through it, it just blanks out and says ‘network disconnected,’” Breiten said. “You have to get [MyStatLab homework] done in under an hour and that just made me mad.”

Breiten said she has had trouble with the Internet, not only academically, but also when using Skype to talk with her mom. The screen will get fuzzy, she said.

Moffitt and Breiten both said they rarely can count on a reliable connection when they want to watch Netflix.

This popular Internet activity of using Netflix might just be the problem with the Hart Wi-Fi.

“There has been an explosion in the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and others,” Phillips said. “These streaming services use an enormous amount of data as compared to regular Internet browsing.”

Especially during peak bandwidth utilization, which is when the most amount of people are using the Internet, the Internet is more likely to cut out and cause students to have to reconnect to the Internet, Phillips said.

Peak bandwidth utilization is estimated by IT to be around noon to 4 p.m., then again from 6 p.m. to midnight each day.

To fix this problem, Phillips said IT is trying to make adjustments for more efficient connections and IT is working to try and add another Internet circuit that would hopefully help with the Internet during peak bandwidth utilization.

“We are constantly improving the Wi-Fi on campus,” Phillips said. “We just finished an 18-month project to upgrade the Wi-Fi in ResNet, and while we are still making minor adjustments in isolated areas, we have resolved most of the signal coverage and capacity problems.”