Residence experience Wi-Fi outage

Zane Turner, Volunteer Writer

On Oct. 17, the residence halls were left without Wi-Fi, due to an equipment failure. The third-party Wi-Fi provider the University of North Alabama uses had an equipment failure that was unavoidable. 

However, the company was able to reorder the part and get it reinstated by the afternoon of Oct. 19. This major inconvenience left a majority of the student body without internet for the weekend, causing other places on campus to be flooded as those were the only places to have internet connection. 

Students were using hotspots, as well as other internet alternates for their basic needs. Some students were sharing their hotspots throughout the dorms allowing other students to use it, promoting a sense of togetherness in the people at the dorms. Other people were in the lobby playing card games and other physical games.

“The internet outage began in the residential areas on Friday and was rectified on Monday,” said Jennifer Sutton, the director of Housing & Residence Life. “While inconvenient and unexpected, it is fortunately on a separate network than the university therefore Wi-Fi continued to operate and be accessible throughout campus in locations such as the library, GUC, etc.” 

HRL was on top of the problem as soon as it happened, immediately contacting the team responsible for the internet and getting it fixed in a timely fashion. 

The University of North Alabama uses a separated system, so every building uses a separate internet, meaning that if one loses connection, the entire system will not. 

That forward thinking allowed most students to counteract the outage by going to the library or the GUC on campus. 

“An equipment failure was identified and at 12 a.m. this morning the original equipment was replaced in an effort to restore service to all affected parties and ISPs,” said David Scarlett, representative of Valley Business Solutions LLC. “Unfortunately, the equipment replacement failed. New equipment has been ordered by the party responsible for that portion of the backbone. At this time we have not been provided an estimated time for repair.” 

The internet provider for the residence halls, Lions Gate Apartments and Twins Gates Apartments all went down at the same time due to a part being broken from a main station providing support to Florence, Birmingham and Huntsville. 

The original backup part that was fitted to the system broke and a new one had to be ordered, and the delay caused the outage. 

However, due to the inconvenience of the Wi-Fi outage, students got together and got to know each other that may have not got to know each other before. 

Due to the Coronavirus, making friends and getting to know your dorm mates may be a challenge due to masks and social distancing. However without internet connection, some students were forced to find other ways of entertainment.

“I wasn’t able to do any work at my dorm so I had to go to the library, and do my work there but it was challenging because there were so many people,” said Eleanor Simmons, a freshman on campus. 

The library and GUC were flooded with students to do work for classes. 

Some students were concerned about their online classes as they couldn’t turn in assignments or go to online classes without the internet. However, with some quick action from HRL, it was fixed in time for it not to have an effect on online classes, and no assignments were missed. 

Students were also given constant updates via email about the status of the repairs.