L++ A Lawrentian’s spec on all things tech

Chelsea Giguere

Last year, those of us in dorms without wireless Internet looked jealously upon those with dorm-wide wireless; after all, they could sit in a lounge anywhere in their building and procrastinate on Facebook while we were tied to Ethernet cables or spotty personal routers for our stalking. Well, jealousy no more. Over the summer every residence area, including small houses, got wireless.

Now, this may initially seem cause for campus-wide jubilation, but tread carefully. While Ethernet is still available, it makes sense for most users to just use wireless for portability, convenience and, probably, joy. Connecting to wireless, though, is always more of a headache than connecting via Ethernet.

Wireless cards in laptops are notoriously spotty and temperamental. They stop working for seemingly no good reason and are difficult to set up. This means that a lot more people will find themselves at ITS trying to get their computers on LUWireless. Thankfully, ITS anticipates this deluge and provides handy guides on the student section of their website. This is to provide armament in user-wireless card wars, as well as hands-on help in their office located on the second floor of the library.

Campus-wide wireless marks the end of personal wireless routers. Many of us may feel cheated out of the potentially large sum of money we spent to allow dual Ethernet access in one room or a small personal wireless network. But, the ban on personal wireless routers is actually a blessing.

Few know that the sheer volume of personal wireless networks actually slowed down the Internet for everyone. So many signals in small spaces result in signal confusion and crossing and, therefore, slow Internet. Think of the router you bought previously as a modern sculpture for your dorm room. After all, that’s all you can really use it for right now.

Most of us have connected our computers to wireless before, but having wireless everywhere allows us to connect other devices. Students can now connect their iPod Touches, smartphones and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices to LUWireless.

Greater connection offers a lot of advantages for students. We can be just about anywhere on campus and check our online calendars, text, IM or expose someone to an absurd YouTube video. The potential, however, for walking into the traffic-that-never-stops on College due to tiny screen distraction increases exponentially.

Increasing Internet access could pose a problem academically. Instead of only having the options of suffering through a boring class or falling asleep, we now can add discrete Internet surfing to the list. However, beware: Surfing the Internet during class is never discrete and almost always disruptive to the surfer’s learning!