News in Brief: Internet Speed Doubles

George Waggoner, Director of Campus Technology Support Services, confirmed that yesterday, Feb. 15, St. Mary’s Technology Services and the University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS) successfully connected using a 100 MB/s internet line installed by Verizon two weeks ago. The connection fulfills services first requested one year ago.

Waggoner said the delay in announcement allowed Technology Services to test campus internet usage under ‘normal’ conditions yesterday, before students were aware of the increased speed. He says the campus never used more the full capacity but expects that once students realize they can stream videos and other media content, the campus may use all 100 MB/s at peak hours.

The connection uses a more expensive Ethernet Private Line (EPL) instead of the originally requested Transport Land Service (TLS).

The 100 MB/s connection is more than double the previous 45 MB/s connection.

The Wait Continues for Faster Internet

At last week’s Student Government Association (SGA) Meeting, Campus Technology Support Services (CTSS) Director George Waggoner came to explain the current situation of Internet on-campus, and gave students some difficult but exciting choices on its future.

Waggoner first explained why students have yet to see the on-campus Internet speeds increase; Verizon, which promised the increased speed via a faster connection line coming from University of Maryland College Park to Leonardtown, has yet to follow through.

He said, “We were promised [a faster connection] in April, in July, in September…here we stand with nothing” and that, “I stand up here embarrassed for Verizon and not for us. We hopefully will have connection in by the end of next year…they are working as hard as they can to get it done.”

Furthermore, according to Waggoner the University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS), which is paying Verizon for the upgrade, is withholding payment until the permanent line is put in (now slated for 2012-2013) and is having a temporary line at 100 megabits a second put in.

He said, “Right now you will have [faster connections] by February…but I’m not promising anything. I can’t.”

Waggoner then turned his attention to a major choice the college will ultimately have to make regarding its funds for CTSS: whether the community would prefer faster speeds or wireless Internet in living spaces.

Waggoner said that CTSS had done an analysis on how and where to put wireless routers around living spaces, and stated that they’d most likely be in the common areas of dorms and in every other living space in Lewis Quad, Waring Commons, and the Townhouses.

He further added that for suites and townhouses that the connection would most likely “bleed” into other areas beyond the common rooms, and that students will likely be able to pick it up in their bedrooms and around their houses.

He added, however, that the speeds would be slower than what students currently get from wired connections as a result of the connection sharing, and that the whole project would cost around $85 thousand.

In response, the SGA almost unanimously called for faster speeds over wireless, even though speed increases have a yearly charge while wireless is a one-time fee.

Townhouse Senator Senior Kyle McGrath said, “I’m fairly certain the…main cause of dissatisfaction is the speed of the Internet. I had an update for my xbox…it took me four hours.”

Townhouse Senator Junior Kevin Paul echoed the sentiment, and said, “I think that [speed] is much more important in the short term…but both would be wise investments.”

Waggoner, in response, said that the college would ultimately cover the expense, and that, “We’re going to do something about increasing Internet speed, but how fast you want us to do so depends on how much the college is willing to front.”