Upgrade may last three to five years
Technology usage at Pratt Community College has reached the limits of its current 20-megabyte bandwidth.
For students, faculty and staff, band width is the most frequent complaint PCC president Michael Calvet has heard during his first year as president.
But better service is coming. When students, faculty and staff come to campus this fall, the college has plans to jump the 20 megabytes up to 100 megabytes, Calvert said.
Slow bandwidth has been an issue at PCC for many years and this year is no exception.
Sophomore Stephanie Seewer of Salt Lake City said it was always slow getting on the school Wi-Fi. She always had to do a reconnect and had to log in every time and it always took a long time.
Most student bandwidth activity takes place in the evening and it doesn’t work for anybody, Seewer said.
International student Fernanda Garcia, a sophomore from Mexico City, said she usually waits until everyone is asleep but she still has to log in to get connected.
“It’s very frustrating,” Garcia said.
Funds for the upgrade will come from existing monies in the technologies budget.
The technology upgrade won’t be noticeable in the college infrastructure but users will notice an increase in performance on their electronic devices.
Bandwidth usage on campus varies depending on the time of day but everyone depends on having access to the Internet and the current 20 megabytes isn’t nearly enough to meet the demand, Calvert said.
Students and employees have to navigate the Internet to get their work done. Much of campus work flows though the Internet and the campus home page.
Faculty uses the Internet for teaching and the entire on-line program couldn’t exist without it. Even getting students to attend PCC depends on bandwidth with 20 percent of enrollments taking place on-line.
Students also use the Internet for class work as well as for personal interaction on social media and for entertainment. Student use is especially heavy during the evening hours.
One of the issues with bandwidth use is that almost everyone has more than one device that pulls from the bandwidth. Whether that device is being used or not, if it is on, it is drawing from bandwidth.
Everybody takes that for granted but many students and faculty have multiple devices and when they are all on at the same time it creates a big drain on the bandwidth.
“We push everybody to go on-line. But we have to have the bandwidth to support it,” Calvert said. “We have to be able to deliver our product easier and faster.”
With more and more electronic devices, students expect to be able to use those new devices whenever they want when they come to campus.
“Students walk in the door with high expectations,” Calvert said. “They need their devices.”
Calvert said with the growth in electronics devices, he anticipates having to upgrade the bandwidth again within three to five years.
Anytime an institution makes a bandwidth upgrade, they know they are just buying time until the next upgrade is needed.
“We anticipate technology upgrades. That’s the nature of business and education is a business,” Calvert said.