Broken LANscape: The Daemen WiFi Network

By Nick Wheeler

The aging wireless network on the Daemen campus isn’t up to the challenge of modern increased traffic demands, and frustrated students are noticing and complaining. 

In classes, residence halls, online groups and forums, and in messages to Daemen staff, frustration with the campus Wi-Fi is growing this year. 

Pre-vet major Victorio Riccardi said he can be working on his laptop and “when I’m about to submit something, the Wi-Fi just fails. Sometimes, I have to restart the  assignment I’m working on.” 

“It’s just frustrating,” Riccardi said. 

“It consistently disconnects and is super slow,” says undergraduate Lily Beyer on the Wi-Fi. 

“It shuts off a lot, especially at night,” Beyer said.

The Information Technology department at Daemen recently released an email to all students about wireless network problems.

In it, they stated, “We acknowledge these bandwidth challenges and would like to let you know that we have a plan to upgrade the network infrastructure next summer.”

The IT email continued, “There are up to four wired ports in each residential space. If you use a smart TV or gaming system, please use the wired network port.” 

Nursing major and Canavan Hall resident Carmen Haskins indicated that this solution isn’t much help, saying, “I use ethernet for my TV. It turns off every 25-30  minutes and completely blacks out.” 

Beyer, another Canavan resident, concurred: “I usually have to leave Canavan to  even be able to load anything.” 

Marc Doull, the network administrator in Daemen’s IT department, said, “We’ve seen a 20% jump in traffic this semester compared to last spring term.” 

Four years ago, he “inherited old fiber, old switches, and old technology,” he said, “I’ve done everything I can.” 

Referring to a campus map overlaid with a diagram of the network on the Daemen campus, Doull pointed to the residence halls. 

“This is the biggest pain point for me,” he said. “These buildings are daisy-chained together, so when one switch fails, all the residences go down at once. All I want to do is rip that out and connect things properly.” 

Pointing to stubborn supply chain shortages, he noted, “Purchases were made almost a year ago. The equipment still hasn’t arrived yet.”

Asked about those plans for next summer, Doull explained that he secured a  Federal grant which will allow him to completely overhaul Daemen’s network.

 Why next summer? “Infrastructure spending isn’t sexy,” he said, “That’s the soonest I’ll be able to get the project done.” 

In the meantime, the Smart Squad team is ready to help “always,” Doull said.  

“The wifi outside residence halls is a separate network. If students go to Wick or the  RIC to turn in work or take a test, they’ll never have a problem,” Doull said.

“Hey, one more thing,” Doull said as the interview concluded, “Tell them I really,  truly don’t care what cat pictures they’re looking at online.”

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