Computer says no…as students lose internet access

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computerAn IT failure at Wadham and Lincoln over the weekend left students without any access to the Colleges’ internet services.

There were network problems at Lincoln during last weekend and Monday morning, and at Wadham on Friday.

In an email sent to Wadham’s student body, the College Warden Lord Macdonald QC responded by apologising for any inconvenience that resulted from the technical failure on Friday.

He also outlined plans to invest in and modernise the IT system throughout the college. The first stage of these plans, due to be in place by the end of February, will be the implementation of a college Wi-Fi network.

In a similar email sent by Lincoln’s IT Manager Mike White, it was announced that the internet was only restored by Monday morning: “Apologies to those of you in Lincoln House/SC15 for the network problems this weekend and this morning. After much chopping and changing of equipment I finally managed to restore full service shortly after lunch.”

Wadham’s SU President Jahnavi Emmanuel was sympathetic towards those affected, saying: “At the moment we are in the process of installing Wi-Fi across the whole College which is a big task – the failure on Friday was the first significant problem that has come up and was obviously quite frustrating for students and staff living and working in College.”

Sam King, Wadham SU’s academic and careers officer, echoed this sentiment: “There is no denying that it is annoying that we have had a number of network problems this year, which have at minimum resulted in internet access only being available via the temperamental Wi-Fi in the library, JCR and other communal areas, and sometimes in a blanket loss of access across the college.

“This is especially true for science students such as myself, for whom the access of research papers online is needed for tutorial work.”

He explained, however, that the College had “handled this instance well” and that “the network was running again by the next day”, adding: “We have also been promised reliable Wi-Fi throughout the college as of the end of February, so hopefully this will not be a problem during exam period next term.”

But Esi Armah-Tetteh, a first-year Classics student, said: “I was really surprised when I got here that not all of Wadham had Wi-Fi. It’s long overdue.”

She pointed out that although Wi-Fi is currently available in her room, not all students have this facility and added: “Nevertheless I would benefit from a stronger connection.”

Another first-year student, Philippa Davis, expressed a similar sentiment: “Nowadays Wi-Fi is vital for so many aspects of our lives. For the amount of money students pay for tuition here, Wi-Fi should be provided in all necessary sites – and especially in students’ rooms.”

Bethany Currie, a student at Corpus Christi College, was alarmed by the adverse effects such a failure would pose to academic life: “It would really mess up my week if we had an IT failure. Work is so relentless that even a seemingly insignificant interruption like that could really do you in. I guess we’re fortunate enough to have dodged these things so far.”

However, Wadham SU President Emmanuel assured students that the new system will be in place in the near future, and gave credit to Head of IT Lee Wootton and his team for their swift action in resolving the problem.

She said: “The IT department worked very hard on Friday to get the system back up and running again and it’s now functioning fine. I have been liaising with college already about the new system and know that they are working as fast and hard as they can – the Wi-Fi should be fully rolled out by the beginning of next term.”

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