By Billy Gedney
By Billy Gedney
In this day and age it is hard to exist without the Internet, but here on the Riverside City College campus that can sometimes be the case.
Really, the bottom line is this: we need a faster Internet connection.
The college’s Internet connection is becoming more and more overloaded. The connection is used at its max capacity from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
You’d be surprised at how often students are on the Internet doing research, looking at entertainment videos or checking their e-mail. Over the last semester, however, that has become more and more of a problem.
If you’ve ever tried to surf the Internet here on campus, it isn’t too bad if you’re checking out your MySpace, which not allowed in most places on campus, but anything more seems to be a waste of time.
The connection at the college is a T3, which handles about 45 megabits per second. Consider that in comparison to your average DSL, which will supply about 1 to 1.5 megabits per second.
I’m not saying that the average home user even needs half that much speed. To watch a quality streaming video, a user needs near 0.3 megabits a second.
If we follow that math, for that standard DSL, an average home internet connection will equip about 4 or 5 people watching videos or 15 people surfing the Internet.
Now multiply that by the 45 times faster and you’ve got the speed of the RCC Internet connection.
That results in roughly 675 people surfing the net or about 220 people watching a movie at a time. For every person watching a video, three people can’t surf the Internet.
Our current usage on computers in staff offices, the library and student resource centers like the Martin Luther King Jr. Teaching and Learning Center doesn’t add up to the capacity.
In 2005, the school started to offer wireless Internet to students. There is no constriction on what people can access besides illegal content, which gets reported to the authorities.
Students can surf YouTube or MySpace, among other things, and it appears students are using the campus network, which is great.
Students can benefit from using the college’s network in many ways. Bringing a laptop to class can really help, but only during times when fewer people are on the network.
It is difficult to imagine actually being able to afford faster serives, considering the entire school is bracing for the impact of the state’s more than $10 billion deficit. To increase the current connection capacity could cost as much as $5,000 per month.
But I can say that I’d be willing to pay around $15 per semester for premium wireless Internet access that’s worthwhile – in other words: fast.
Also, to ease problems and attract more users to this new network, we could have a support person whom students can go see face to face to have their laptops (or iPhones) added to the network.
We have to start thinking about a better way to surf the Internet on campus. Fifteen dollars may not be enough – but others might say it’s too much. Students and staff need to voice the facts that the Internet is too slow, that we are paying attention to it and that we should work to find a way to fix it.