Here’s how the UO wifi works and what IT does to fix outages

During fall of 2017 there were nine partial or full internet outages on the UO campus, including one campus-wide outage, according to UO Information Services. Some students have not been happy with the frequency of outages.

But Twitter isn’t the only outlet for complaints about the internet issues on campus. In fall term of this year, there were 372 service requests received by UO Information Services. Service requests fall into three categories: customers with problems connecting their device, questions about the UO guest network and problems involving coverage or speed problems.

“Once we realize there is an issue, our first goal is to restore service as quickly as possible. Sometimes there’s a few short cut[s] we take to get things up and running, and we fix the rest of it after the fact,” said Patrick Chinn, associate CIO for customer experience at UO Information Services.

Outages can range from a single access point that generally affects 15 to 30 people, to an all-campus outage that affects anyone using the UO secure network. The UO campus has 2,500 access points and as many as 22,000 devices connected to the network at any given time, so the amount of people and devices affected can vary.  

“When we first get reports that something is broken, sometimes that is one of the biggest challenges is knowing ‘is this just this building’. … or is it a bigger scope and that’s part of the investigation that we do when something just flat out breaks,” said Chinn.

Network engineers at UO Information Services have monitoring tools that allow them to see the status of all the network access points on campus and help determine the scope of outages while they are happening, according to Chinn.

“Our wireless network is set up in a way where we shouldn’t lose more than about a quarter of campus at a time,” said Chinn. In the next few months, UO Information Services is planning to make changes that should reduce the size of large outages and improve stability.

In August 2017, the UOIS changed the way it takes in service requests. Before, members of the campus community who had internet and technology-related problems would email UO Information Services or other technology resources on campus for help. Now, anyone can submit a service request through the UO Service Portal. The service portal is used by three other technology departments on campus in addition to UO Information Services: Student Life IT, School of Journalism and Communication IT and the College of Design Technology service.

The new portal aims to increase effectiveness, efficiency and the technical support experience, according to UO Information Services.

“It has helped tremendously. The ticketing system is set up in a way where we can see those tickets regardless of where they come into because they are reported by service,” said Chinn. The ticketing is another word for service requests.

UOIS offers a few different wifi networks:

  • UO secure for students, faculty and staff at the UO only requires you to log in when first connecting to the internet and whenever you change your password.
  • UO wireless which is also for students faculty and staff but requires you log in every time you wish to use the wifi.
  • UO guest for self-registered or sponsored guests according to UO Information Services.

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Casey Crowley

Casey Crowley

Casey Crowley is a Senior News Reporter for the Emerald. He is in his final year as a journalism major. He likes sports, movies and going to concerts.

Feel free to contact him at [email protected]