We live in an age where entire cities are going wireless – Austin, Orlando, San Francisco and even St. Cloud, Fla. And yet at Georgetown, many students who live on campus cannot get wireless where they use Internet the most: their apartments.

For many underclassmen, the apartments of Village A, Henle Village and Alumni Square are ideal housing locations that are sought after in housing selection. Among the many amenities: at least three close friends as roommates, a spacious living room, a kitchen and the semblance of adult living. As current residents will quickly tell you, however, these living arrangements are missing one essential part of a modern student residence: wireless Internet.

Instead, residents of these “premiere” locations are required to use an Ethernet cord to access the Internet, making their living room of little use for studying. To today’s students, the vast majority of whom use laptops, the inability to roam or work in a living room can be more than a hassle; in certain situations, it can be detrimental to our studies. The cumbersome system of media adapters and Ethernet cables make it difficult to do Internet research when a roommate is sleeping. It also prevents multiple students from being on the Internet in the same room at the same time, curtailing students’ abilities to work together. And given the ban on personal wireless adapters, students are not even free to pay their own money for wireless access. Although there are some security concerns with personal Wi-Fi networks, these are not insurmountable. If University Information Services cannot provide wireless Internet access for apartments, it should work with students to let them create secure, personal networks.

It is truly inconceivable that a campus as small as Georgetown’s does not have ubiquitous Wi-Fi. Georgetown’s competitiveness rests on its ability to effectively provide students with the resources they need to accomplish the tasks of modern scholarship – which includes flexible, reliable Internet access. In fact, many of our peer institutions far surpass us in wireless coverage; universities like Penn State, Dartmouth and Princeton all provide wireless Internet access in dorms. Earlier this year Duke University even finished implementing universal campus access to the advanced “n standard” of wireless Internet. Georgetown continues to lag behind.

Although UIS recently completed a substantial upgrade to providing Wi-Fi in Lauinger Library – a welcome improvement – students need the flexibility that Wi-Fi allows in their apartments.

To the modern student, the Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

In speaking with UIS officials, it became clear that they are still in the planning phase of extending wireless access to all residence halls. UIS is choosing to focus on revamping the wireless networks of “common areas,” like in ICC and Leavey, which have functional, though somewhat out-dated, service. It seems more reasonable to first set up wireless Internet access in areas where there is none. While we understand the expense and difficulty of wireless networking, especially given the unique architecture of certain areas, the university as a whole must provide adequate funding and manpower to an issue of great importance to the student body.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.