Information Technology Services (ITS) has raised the data rate on the Ramapo-MultimediaDevices Wi-Fi, meaning a faster network for the community at large, but no Internet access to those with older Nintendo Wiis.
“The older Wii has a weird chip set,” said Network Manager for ITS Vlade Ristevski. “Even though there’s a higher data rate that’s available, it always tries to get that lower data rate first, and then it will go to the higher one. What that does is it forces everyone else on that network to have less performance than it could.”
For students who are affected by this change, ITS suggests getting a wired USB adapter that can plug into the wired network port in their dorms, and therefore connect them to the internet. They have found an adapter under $15, offering an affordable alternative to students.
“We tried a few different ones and we tested them and we found one that works that’s reasonably priced,” said Ristevski.
The UtechSmart USB 2.0 to 10/100 Fast Ethernet LAN Wired Network Adapter can be purchased on Amazon, and is suggested by ITS to connect devices to the wired network.
The decision to change the data rate was made in the middle of this semester, cutting off Wi-Fi for older-model Wiis; however, it also brought up the overall speed of the network for others using Ramapo-MultimediaDevices.
Perhaps the biggest interruption the raised data rate has caused is for those streaming Netflix through older Wiis, which allowed TV shows and movies to be played on televisions, instead of just computers.
“We can’t sit on the couch as a big group and watch Netflix anymore,” said junior Nicole Tymczak. “Instead we all have to crowd around my laptop.”
Newer Wiis, however, should be able to connect without hinderance. Last year, older Wiis did not have this problem because the school did not provide campus-wide Wi-Fi. Instead, students provided their own access points and could therefore connect their devices with no problem.
“Last year, we didn’t provide Wi-Fi; students brought their own in and that’s why it worked, so they brought in their own access points. This year, we’re the ones providing the Wi-Fi… as of this year—this September—we started providing Wi-Fi to every single one of the dorms,” said Ristevski.
While many are enjoying the faster network speed, some students question why they were not better alerted to the change in data rate.
“I think the network needs to be revamped a little. It needs to be more easily accessible as to why its not working and how to fix it,” said Tymczak.
According to Ristevski, the older-model Wiis are not conducive to shared networks and are meant for home use. Another device, Google Chromecast, that allows users to view television shows, movies and apps on their TV, has never been supported at Ramapo because it is incompatible with shared networks. Chromecast is not supported on many college campuses, including Monmouth, The College of New Jersey and Rutgers.
The decision to raise the data rate came about after ITS researched how other schools were handling low performing networks.
“I’d say the Wiis probably worked the first or second week and we noticed that the network wasn’t performing, so we raised the data rates,” said Ristevski. “We did research on that and saw what every other school was doing and we raised the data rates for high performance on the network.”