The following list of frequently asked questions relate directly to the Columbia campus.
Many buildings have wireless internet access points that can’t keep up with the number of devices trying to connect to them. In some cases, those access points provide connections that can’t keep up with the high-speed requirements of today’s websites and apps.
The data network those wireless access points connect your devices to relies on some hardware that needs to be replaced. On top of this, the current design of the data network makes it so that large portions of the network tend to go offline all at once when hardware fails.
There are two components to the issues we’re facing today: the wireless internet (Wi-Fi) everyone connects to and the underlying data network.
We use Wi-Fi to connect to the University of South Carolina’s data network. No matter where you are, there are a limited number of wireless access points, and those points provide a limited amount of bandwidth for your devices to connect to. If too many devices are connected or the size of the data they are uploading/downloading is too big, this results in slowdowns and dropped connections.
Through Wi-Fi, the data network connects your devices to the rest of the internet. Because much of the hardware that makes up the data network is outdated, when a critical piece of that hardware fails, the connection to the rest of the internet gets severed until the hardware is replaced or a workaround is installed. No matter how good the Wi-Fi is, there is no connection to the internet when the data network goes offline.
The Wi-Fi in the Columbia campus residence halls was recently upgraded. The following locations all have improved Wi-Fi compared to the rest of campus as of October 2022:
- 820 Henderson
- Bates House
- Bates West
- Columbia Hall
- East Quad
- Green Quad
- Harper Elliot
- South Quad
- South Tower
- Women's Quad
In Fall 2022, President Amiridis invested $6.5 million to implement Wi-Fi upgrades in over 600 classrooms across the Columbia campus. These upgrades will be completed in 2023, building-by-building. We will keep students, faculty, and staff informed as the campus receives these upgrades.
This latest upgrade to the Columbia campus’s Wi-Fi network will add more than 4,000 wireless access points. More access points means more devices can connect to the network at the same time while also maintaining faster connections than before.
The existing data network has been tuned and updated to run as well as it possibly can, given the advanced age of some of its components. Emergency funding was approved earlier in 2022 for the implementation of a redesigned network with refreshed hardware.
By Fall 2023, the Columbia campus will have access to this upgraded data network. Internet connections across campus will be more resilient to power outages, and network outages related to failing hardware are expected to drop by 90% or more once the upgrade is complete.
If you experience problems with your Wi-Fi connection, contact the IT Service Desk at 803-777-1800. The IT Service Desk representatives can help diagnose the issue you are facing and suggest solutions. If the issue you experience is related to a larger network incident, the IT Service Desk will be able to tell you. Also, if your issue is the first sign of a larger incident, notifying the IT Service Desk will help the Division of IT resolve that incident as quickly as possible.
If you haven’t done so already, contact the IT Service Desk at 803-777-1800. The IT Service Desk representatives will be able to help you diagnose your issue, suggest workarounds, and/or begin the incident management process if the issue you’re experiencing is part of a larger problem.
The Division of IT will keep university officials and faculty informed about the status of our efforts to upgrade the Columbia campus’s Wi-Fi and data network. This information should allow them to plan for and respond to issues related to teaching and learning.
For more information, please see the plans to improve Wi-Fi on the Columbia campus.