CSUEB leaves internet ports behind

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Tam Duong Jr.

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Eldar Bulyga,

When was the last time you used a wire for internet? Last month? Over a year ago?

Wifi has its advantages to wired internet: convenience, flexibility, and lower maintenance costs. But it has its problems. Wifi connections can be spotty depending on where you are in your room. A wired connection will always stay connected, so if you need your internet to stay up with zero interruptions then there is no alternative. For some people, wifi is just not good enough.

According to Cal State East Bay’s Housing Department, most of their resident students primarily use wifi internet, and that’s good, because the dorms don’t have wired internet at all. The university has taken note of it’s student’s internet usage patterns, leaning heavily towards wifi usage rather than wired. CSUEB has completely disabled internet ports in all 10 on-campus apartment buildings two years ago, and has no plans to turn them back on according to the Housing Department. Internet security and student interests are the reasons for this change they say.

“Internet security is a top priority for the Housing department,” David Wildy, Assistant Director of House, IT and Administrative Services at CSUEB told the Pioneer. Thousands of internet devices are “in an open network environment,” Wildy says.

Much of what students do involves connecting to the network. It’s estimated that four to six wireless devices are used per person in the dorms, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, Wildy said.

But all of those devices can get viruses. Besides slowing down your device, there is the chance that someone could steal private information from those devices, like credit card numbers, social security numbers, or account passwords. If the internet ports were to be turned on, “anyone can walk onto campus and plug in,” Wildy said. They don’t need a CSUEB account like the wifi does. That is a huge reason for why wifi is now the only way to use the campus internet.

Generally speaking, no one needs wired internet anymore. The majority of people that ask for wired internet connections are dedicated gamers with desktop PCs that want as little lag as possible when playing. 95% of students have laptops rather than desktops, according to Wildy.

The university also has limited internet speed. The campus internet has a 1.2 gigabit per second bandwidth according to Wildy, which can download an average length HD movie in under 14 seconds or 4000 songs in under 30 seconds. That’s crazy fast, but it doesn’t seem that way when we actually use the CSUEB internet because that speed is shared by everyone at once. Disabling wired internet discourages residents from downloading large files too often or running servers from their dorm.

Servers for websites or programs that start “blowing up the bandwidth” is another problem, says Wildy. That fast bandwidth can quickly get taken up by a single user if they decide to host a server on wired internet.

Rather than allowing a few people to use all of the internet, wifi gives every user a portion of the network more evenly. Average dorm residents can get the internet they are paying for.

There are a couple ways to get wired internet access if requested. Wildy explains that two perfectly valid reasons for getting an internet port reenabled is an academic or medical reason. Some classes require programs to be run off of wifi. While for others there is medical hardware designed to be constantly connected and monitored through the internet by doctors. In those cases, a dorm resident can get a request granted.

The housing department has made great strides in improving its wireless network, but it has been at the cost of the internet ports. Wildy is optimistic for the future of the university saying that the school has finally “caught up” to the demands of its students, and is now improving wifi coverage and stability.