The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

WiFi Forces Teachers to Look for Workaround

Since mid-February, the school district has been upgrading the WiFi on campus. According to Eric Hunyh, the district’s Director of Information Services, the new WiFi system should be 10 times faster than the previous one.

“[In February] we saw that the number of users on our system had gone from hundreds to thousands… so right away we started the upgrade process,” district Superintendent Dr. Barry Groves said.

Groves attributed the rise in users to the increase in electronic devices on campus. Smart phones and personal laptops along with the already present school computers are almost always connected to the internet, stretching the capacity of the system.

According to history teacher Stephanie Downey, the timing of the upgrade has made the process inconvenient for a number of teachers.

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“I would say that my classes lose anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes a day because of the internet being down,” Downey said.

Currently the job of upgrading the system has been left to district Information Technology employees, who have been unable to fix many of the problems with the new system.

Social studies teacher Todd Wangsness has consistently had trouble connecting to the WiFi network in the 300 wing. Wangsness said that district IT employees have not been able to fix the problem despite weeks of work.

Some teachers have resorted to providing their own WiFi. Computer Science teacher Michael Richardson has set up his own network router under the name “DiagonAlley” in order to have a more reliable internet connection while the upgrades are underway. Richardson said that the process is especially ill-timed because his computer science class, as well as other computer-based classes, are incorporating more internet usage instruction.  In response, the district has tried to discourage the use of private WiFi networks.

“Such ‘rogue networks’ are interfering with the school’s WiFi and need to be taken down in order for the system to fully work,” Groves said. 

Groves acknowledged that in the case of Richardson’s computer science class, such instantaneous internet access was necessary, though Groves made it clear that Richardson would have to take down the network once the updates are finished.

According to Hunyh, the date of completion has now been moved back to May 31, 2014 for the network and June 30, 2014 for the remaining infrastructure upgrades from August 2014. Groves said that the upgrades are planned to be completed by the time school resumes in the fall.

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