Students Staff

February 19, 2015

Eduroam wifi: what’s been going wrong, and how we’re fixing it

Filed under: News, Wi-Fi — Dan Jolly @ 12:10 pm

First off we’d like to say thank you to everyone who has contacted IT Services or the Students’ Union to bring this problem to our attention – your feedback helps us to find out what’s going wrong more quickly and easily. So keep it coming!

Sorry for the headaches

We know eduroam wifi hasn’t been great of late, and we’d like to apologise for any stress or inconvenience this may have caused you.

We expect a fast and reliable wifi service just as much as you do, and here’s what we’re doing to deliver this.

What’s been going wrong

Running out of IP addresses

Whenever your device connects to eduroam wifi it’s given a unique address which is known as an IP address. Our network uses this address to talk to your device and give it lovely internet. However these addresses aren’t limitless, and a few weeks ago we ran out of addresses due to the high number of devices trying to connect.

Since then we’ve added an additional 1,000 addresses to the address pool so this problem shouldn’t happen again for a long time.

The “sticky” problem

When you connect to eduroam wifi you’re connecting to something called an access point (essentially a clever wifi router). There are 442 access points dotted around Colchester Campus to maximise coverage. As you move around campus your device should automatically jump to the nearest access point to give you the best signal possible. The problem is this hasn’t been happening – the access points don’t want to let go.

We recently updated the software on our access points to fix the stickiness, and with a bit more testing we hope to have this fixed very soon.

Unfortunately the software update also introduced a new problem which led to bad service Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

The update changed how often the access points should report back to the network which ultimately flooded the network with data, causing the server to become so busy it couldn’t accept new logins. We’ve now fixed this, and since Wednesday afternoon everything has been OK.

We’re also installing a new access point in the SU bar to fix a dead spot – this should be in by next week.

Moving forward

The good news is that we were able to quickly diagnose and resolve the problem experienced this week thanks to your reports to our IT Helpdesk, Facebook, Twitter etc so please continue to report any eduroam wifi problems.

We’ll announce any important news about eduroam wifi on our Twitter (@UniEssexIT) and blog.

 

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