Letter to the Editor

In the Oct. 22 edition of The Lawrentian, staff writer Maija Anstine contributed an article titled, “Slow Internet speeds continue to affect academic life at Lawrence.” In the article, Anstine makes several questionable claims, such as attributing slower speeds to the large freshman class or that complaining about the issue will expedite its correction.
The claim that the Moodle site is slow because of Internet speeds is incorrect, and a talk with a knowledgeable ITS member would have revealed that the campus Moodle servers have been having their own set of problems lately. Moodle is run on an internal connection, meaning that its traffic is not shaped, throttled or even sent off-campus. Lawrence’s Internet speeds have nothing to do with Moodle’s performance.
In addition, students who use the lab computers will experience faster speeds, since lab computers are given a higher priority.
The second major inaccuracy in the Oct. 22 article is the claim that the large freshman class might be responsible for slower Internet speeds. In fact, the Oct. 1 issue of the Lawrentian dealt with this issue, citing not “an ITS staff member” as Anstine does, but Steven Armstrong, director of ITS. Verbatim: “Even with the huge freshman class, the real culprit is changing media habits.”
Armstrong pointed the blame at sites like YouTube, Facebook and Hulu, where students from all classes are using more and more bandwidth per person. This factual inaccuracy in Anstine’s article is dangerous because it blames a group of students already held responsible for seating and rooming problems for another problem.
Finally, the issue is already being competently addressed by members of ITS and the administration. Creating Facebook groups and making posters is not going to make this process go any faster.
In fact, Lawrence has already ordered the infrastructure that will enable the upgrade to much faster internet speeds. According to Armstrong, Lawrence should have 200 Mbps, or double our current bandwidth, by the end of next week.
The article in the Oct. 22 edition of The Lawrentian was poorly researched and poorly cited, and it should not have been published under the heading “news.”
-Erty Seidel

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