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Administration delays bandwidth increase

November 4, 2011

In previous years, Monmouth College has always purchased the maximum amount of bandwidth available through its provider. After waiting for providers to improve their technology, Monmouth finally purchased additional bandwidth. However, this year school administrators estimated the amount of bandwidth needed for campus and did not buy the maximum amount which was more than the college was willing to pay.

“Lots of times we don’t use all the bandwidth we have,” said President Mauri Ditzler. “It takes $15-20,000 to double the bandwidth.”

Ditzler said he must weigh the costs and benefits of purchasing more bandwidth. The cost of doubling bandwidth in the middle of a contract could cost students scholarship money or even raise tuition for spring semester. Ditzler has approved an increase in bandwidth for the 2012-2013 academic school year. The new bandwidth will be increased to 150 megabits.

With recent complaints from students about the internet, Ditzler stated that the college will need to double the bandwidth for next year. Don Capener, Vice President for Strategic Planning, explained how bandwidth did increase from last year.

“In 2011, our bandwidth increased to 80 Mbps from less than 40 Mbps,” said Capener.

Derek Hanks, a senior computer science major, explained the speed of Monmouth’s internet. On campus, Hanks can connect at 4,000 milliseconds which is slow considering a connection from Kewannee, Ill. to Chicago will send at 23 milliseconds.

“There are different times of the day when the internet gets better,” said Hanks after explaining that his connection is fine in the early hours of the morning when most of campus is asleep. “There are just streaming issues, and video traffic hogs a lot of bandwidth.”

Capener  also felt video usage is a factor in slowing the campus internet.

“We will increase the Monmouth College bandwidth in the future based on the educational demands and co-curricular needs of the students, faculty and staff,” said Capener. “Netflix and other game systems use huge amounts of bandwidth. Yet, we do not prohibit use of the internet for entertainment purposes.”

Ditzler agreed with Capener adding that students originally used internet for checking email and doing research.

With the increase in bandwidth slated for next school year, Capener explained that Monmouth, like other colleges, considered adding an entertainment fee.

“Although most schools are now charging a technology fee, we do not plan to add these fees for 2012-2013,” said Capener. “The increased bandwidth will be available as soon as out vendor can test the systems. It could be as early as January.”

Even though many students are annoyed by the internet, Hanks understands that the internet on campus is not intended for downloading major files.

“I get 2 megabytes per second at home,” said Hanks. “Here, I get 8 kilabytes per second, which is not good, but then again, the internet here isn’t for downloading.”

Sophomore Megan Lyle, a computer science major, explained the bandwidth is divided between students online.

“The fewer students who are online,” said Lyle, “the faster the internet will be.”

Lyle also explained Monmouth is networked with fiber-optic cable. Fiber optics makes internet connections faster than a cable connection. Monmouth is attempting to gain better internet speeds for students, but Capener reiterated that costs and benefits must be weighed.

“The most important priority is enabling Monmouth College students to be as successful as they possibly can,” said Capener. “The push for the best services at the most reasonable rates involves trade-offs … Monmouth College provides that access at ever increasing speeds.”

Stevie Croisant
Copy/Layout Editor

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