Thousands of students in West Campus experienced Wi-Fi connectivity issues through the provider MyCampusNet while trying to complete classes virtually over the past few weeks.
MyCampusNet, which offers Wi-Fi services to nearly 60 off-campus living facilities in Austin, started experiencing connectivity issues on Jan. 27, resulting in spotty Wi-Fi over the course of five days at multiple apartment complexes, said Shellie Corley, vice president of strategic development at CampusConnect, the company that runs MyCampusNet.
Corley said the issue has now been resolved, and Wi-Fi connectivity was stable as of Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
A team of engineers began troubleshooting connectivity issues on Jan. 27, Corely said. The issues persisted on Jan. 28, but Corley said the issue was identified that day.
“An external device interaction with the network was triggering the intermittent connectivity and possibly affecting up to 7,128 users,” Corley said in an email.
Corley did not provide further explanation as to what the external device was, how it affected the network, or how many residents were affected each day the Wi-Fi was out, saying that was “company proprietary information.”
The West Campus apartments that had connectivity problems on Jan. 28 included 26 West, Callaway, Castilian, Crest at Pearl, Inspire on 22nd, Lark Austin, Skyloft, The Block, The Nine at Rio, Ruckus 2.0 and Scottish Rite Dormitory, Corley said.
Corley said service remained stable throughout the weekend of Jan. 30, and engineers continued monitoring the situation.
However, the problem resurfaced on Feb. 1 and 2, causing outages at three different times in two buildings, Corley said. The issue was resolved Feb. 2, but on Feb. 4, an unrelated construction incident caused another outage for four and a half minutes, Corley said.
Corley declined to comment on which buildings had outages during the three days or how many people were affected because it was also classified as “company proprietary information.”
Max Grimes, Plan II and biology sophomore, said he lives at 26 West and has experienced Wi-Fi issues since last semester, but not as consistently as the recent outages. He said this semester, his Wi-Fi would go out every other day for about an hour.
“It’s really frustrating,” Grimes said. “You’re in the middle of taking notes and you get dropped from a call and miss 10 minutes of lecture. It’s also stressful. I have exams coming up, and those will be online, and I really don’t want to have to worry about the internet going out.”
Grimes said he would like to have been informed by CampusConnect or the property management company about what was happening and how it was being fixed instead of being left “in the dark.”
MyCampusNet emailed residents Feb. 5 to explain why their Wi-Fi may have gone out and how their engineers fixed and continued to monitor the issue, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Daily Texan.
Psychology freshman Gloriel Kazadi said she went to campus to use the Wi-Fi several times after she started experiencing issues at The Nine at Rio last week.
“Whenever things like this happen with the Wi-Fi, we have to make a difficult decision to (either) suck it up and go on campus (where) we’re being exposed (to COVID-19), or stay home and suck it up and not thrive academically because of the Wi-Fi,” Kazadi said.