Kalamazoo College’s Internet Bandwidth is Among the Lowest of All Colleges in the GLCA
By Sarah Wallace
Whether in the crowded library or the comfort of a dorm, students are frustrated with the slow internet connection. This is the case for many students on campuses across the country, but it’s hitting home especially hard for Kalamazoo College students. Last October, a survey was conducted that revealed that K had the lowest bandwidth devoted to students in the Great Lakes College Association (GLCA). The College nearly hits its bandwidth capacity several times a day. K does have the lowest bandwidth, but it does not have the lowest bandwidth per student. However, it still remains low. Our technical support staff is well aware of this. Every week, Information Services generates a graph in relation to bandwidth use per day on all of its networks. The bandwidth is separated into 6 different network groups: student residents, guests, labs and classrooms, faculty and staff, and core services. Visible from the graph, the student residential network takes up the majority of this bandwidth. With a current bandwidth of 240mbps, Information Services is looking to possibly increase this number substantially. “Both of these graphs indicate to us that we need more bandwidth per student. We are developing our budget for next year and are planning to add more,” said Greg Diment, the Chief Information Officer of Information Services. The current internet provider is CTS Telecom, having switched from AT&T two years ago. The College spends about $60,000 a year on its bandwidth. “We’re negotiating with a couple of different companies to see if we can see a little bit of a lower price,” said Diment. Bandwidth is evidently reaching its max out point. Though Information Services has this data on bandwidth usage, it receives little input from students about difficulties with the wireless network speed. “We’ve only gotten mild complaints about the slowness of the internet. We do know that there are vague complaints; however, they are ones that students share with each other in person and on Facebook. We aren’t getting many formal complaints,” said Diment. Bandwidth does need improving. But without student input, it’s unknown if this is the only reason for a slow internet connection. “Maybe there’s a bad router or a bad access point in a particular residence hall, or a certain time of day it gets slow…we can’t figure that out if no one’s formally telling us about that,” said Diment.