In most on-campus housing, students gain Internet access from an ISP independently managed by the University. This also encompasses the UR Medical Center, the Eastman School of Music and many other University properties. On our otherwise well-connected university, one glaring exception remains. Because Riverview Apartments are only leased by UR, the residents’ Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections are provided through Time Warner Cable.
This omission would not be a problem if the services were comparable. However, even at the best of times, Internet speeds at Riverview are markedly slower than those on the River Campus. A sample test of the speed found download speeds of 10 Mbps in Building C versus 20 Mbps on campus. The network is also prone to frequent disconnects and interruptions. In Building A, for example, connection speeds have slowed to dial-up speeds, unable to accommodate even low bandwidth email services, and, on Sept. 6 and 7, the Internet was completely inaccessible. In another instance, some rooms in Building B lack wireless services entirely and only have Ethernet access. In the frequent cases where the network does fail, problems are fixed slowly, because Time Warner doesn’t have the direct accountability of UR support. On top of this, Riverview’s dodgy connection lacks certain benefits of the campus network, including coverage under UR Internet security measures and automatic access to JSTOR and other scholarly publications. Reliable Internet access is unquestionably a necessity for university students, considering both course requirements and social expectations, and Riverview’s current network is unable to support these needs.
Over the past few years, a Students’ Association initiative has done a good job of expanding the wireless network. The natural next step needs to incorporate Riverview into the UR network. The University already offers an excellent internet connection — it is unacceptable for Riverview to be stuck in 1995.