By Sanam Islam
Internet outages at the International Living and Learning Centre have forced some students to complete research and assignments outside of residence for two weekends in a row.
Several floors could not access ResNet, the internet service for students in residence, from Friday, Jan. 29 to Monday, Feb. 1, whereas other floors didn’t report any problems.
The following weekend on Feb. 5, the same problem occurred again for many students. Some residents have experienced limited internet connectivity for more than a week. Omar Raza, a second-year Business Management student and ILLC resident, was affected by the outage. “(CCS) should have some sort of backup as there were a lot of people on my floor who had to pay to use the internet at a café to complete their assignments and research,” he said.
According to Brian Lesser, assistant director of Computing and Communication Services (CCS) there was a problem with a network device on Jan. 29. He said this caused at least an entire floor of the ILLC to be without network connectivity until the fault was discovered and the device was reset early Monday morning.
Lesser said the CCS network monitoring system did not detect the problem because the device was responding properly to network health checks, even though it was not working. Lesser believes only students on the fifth floor and some students on the sixth floor were affected, and that hackers are not to blame.
“It is possible that extremely high network usage might cause this type of problem but our logs do not show unusually high traffic levels. A quick review of our security logs doesn’t show unusual virus or scanning activity either,” Lesser said.
Although CCS does not know what caused the problem, he said that they are monitoring the system carefully. Lesser initially said CCS was unaware of the outage on the weekend of the 5th, but after contacting the IT security department which is separate from CCS, he discovered there had been a problem with the firewall protecting the ILLC.
The firewall was reset as soon as the problem was discovered Monday morning. CCS may consider refunds for students without an internet connection for more than a week, he added. First-year fashion design student Jessica Van Enckevort is unhappy with the ResNet service she’s received. “Most students at other universities don’t have to pay for the internet so the least they can do is make sure its working all the time,” said the ILLC resident.
“They should have better tech support or we should have the option of choosing an outside internet (provider).”
Lesser said students who feel they are entitled to a refund can contact CCS at firstname.lastname@example.org, and provide as much information about the outage as possible.