What’s the problem?

In the last few weeks of fall semester and the first few weeks of spring, there was an influx of complaints through the #GMUProblems hashtag and Twitter handle complaining about the wireless internet connection.

Students are having difficulty connecting to and staying connected to the WiFi offered in the dorm rooms across campus, which can make completing homework and accessing Blackboard difficult.

Slow WiFi in the dorms is caused a tragedy of the commons. Each access point only has so much bandwith to distribute and the more students who are using the service, the slower the internet.

There are a few commonly diagnosed reasons for problems with Mason-Secure.

What are the causes?

Distance from wireless antenna: The closer you are to an access point, the stronger the signal to your device. Increased distance can also lead to possible interference sources.

Interference: Radio frequencies from other devices such as a microwave could interrupt your connection.

Conflicting Wifi signals: If your device is competing with a personal hot spot, an incorrectly configured computer, a non-Mason supported access point or a wireless printer, it may have trouble connecting.

Expired passwords: Reset your PatriotPass on password.gmu.edu. While passwords will still work for MasonLive and PatriotWeb after 180 days passwords will expire for Mason-Secure.

Preferred networks: Make sure that Mason-Secure is your preferred network option.

What is the university doing to help?

According to the IT support desk, there has been no change in the wireless networks that would effect the sudden rise in complaints about the WiFi.
However, passwords for the internet login expire after 180 days, making this season prime time for frustrated students trying to log on with failed passwords.

Students with reoccurring connection problems can tweet to @GMUNetwork to reach David Robertson, the service delivery manager for network engineering and technology.

Robertson and his team are working to increase access points in the dorms to speed up the wireless connection and decrease drop rates. Buildings with cinder block walls are especially prone to dropped WiFi signals.

Originally built as a supplement for wired internet, wireless is now billed as more convenient, while wired is faster and more reliable.
For on-campus students, ResTechs are available for in-person troubleshooting and problem solving.
Similar to Geek Squad, ResTechs are sophomore, junior and senior undergrads who are available 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday during key homework time blocks.

ResTechs are available in each housing neighborhood.