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UCF Wifi Rant

While I frustratingly waited to connect to the UCF Wifi after a recent change to their system, I typed up the following email complaint to the UCF DoIT Manager. If *you* have also had issues with unstable/dropped connections, slow bandwidth, latency, or the inability to connect to the UCF Wifi, I urge you to also contact the UCF Department of Information Technology via:

cst@ucf.edu = General
bob.yanckello@ucf.edu = Bob Yanckello (UCF Chief Technology Officer)
lou.garcia@ucf.edu = Lou Garcia (UCF Network Manager [responsible for wireless services])
chrisv@mail.ucf.edu = Chris Vakhordjian (Information Security Office)
tim.larson@ucf.edu = Tim Larson (ERP Consultant)
jim.ennis@ucf.edu = Jim Ennis (Enterprise Systems & Operations)
andy.hulsey@ucf.edu = Andy Hulsey (Telecommunications [includes Network Services])
aaron.streimish@ucf.edu = Aaron Streimish (Project Performance & Management Office)

Email below

While I understand the benefit of encrypted wireless communications, UCF’s decision to require all student wireless clients to use WPA without preparing to sufficiently upgrade the wireless infrastructure has rendered the UCF Wifi *unusable*.

Allow me to provide a brief log of my Internet Experience this afternoon (2011-09-15).

12:02 – attempt to connect to WiFi
– fail for 9 minutes
12:11 – connected
12:11 – google ’email ucf department of information technology’
12:12 – disconnected
12:13 – failed to connect
12:14 – connected
12:11 – click next = ask google for next page of results from query (ie: fix your website with SEO!)
12:20 – google finally returns page 2 results
12:46 – find CS&T Email Addresses
…pain continues…

From this data, we can see the following unacceptable results:
(1) It took me 18 minutes to return 2 google page loads (terrible bandwidth)
(2) My connection was unstable (dropped connections)
(3) Your contact information (necessary for user feedback) is buried

I’ve always appreciated the existence of WPA APs at UCF–which uphold the privacy of wireless clients who choose to utilize it. I even think that creating an encryption-only wireless policy is generally a good idea. However, any modification to a network that renders it unusable is absolutely unacceptable.

I hope that you can use the statistics from myself and other users to obtain approval to sufficiently upgrade the network infrastructure to a level that is capable of handling the load. However, until the hardware is in place, I beg you to reverse your changes for the benefit of the wireless clients as a whole.

Note: I’m uploading this email to my technology blog (tech.michaelaltfield.net), urging other UCF Wifi clients to contact the UCF CS&T. I hope that an uproar of complaints can be passed up the chain so that the Administration can allocate sufficient funds to significantly upgrade the wireless and wired network infrastructure to be capable of handling 10,000 employees (faculty & staff) and 56,000 students.

Thank you,
Michael Altfield
UCF Student

Edit: UCF Response

After a few exchanged emails, I called & spoke with Lou Garcia , the UCF Network Services Manager. Lou is responsible for for the wireless services at UCF.

My issue was specifically located in Classroom Building 1 (CL1). CL1 has been funded (via the Student Technology Fee) for a wireless upgrade: 31 new APs have already been purchased (1st floor=14, 2nd floor=9, 3rd floor=8). UCF CS&T is waiting on an outsourced group to run the cables and hang the APs–which should happen in the next 4-8 weeks.

Lou said that they would not reverse the change to re-open the “UCF” SSID. We can expect the network to be unusable in CL1 until the new APs are installed & configured.

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