Our School is currently undergoing a network upgrade in order to support the vast number of wireless devices our students, faculty, and staff use. The IT department has been working very hard, putting countless hours into this exciting project. We have had little interruption, until today. Today we’ve had some issues connecting to printers, a few social networks that I regularly post to on the School’s behalf have been inadvertently blocked, and loading some areas of our website has taken longer than usual. These slight interruptions to the normal work flow has made me realize just how dependent we are on technology.
Earlier this year, top news site Mashable shared an article from their publishing partner, MIT Technology Review, on the weight of wireless devices on networks.
The Internet was designed in the 1960s to dispatch data to fixed addresses of static PCs connected to a single network, but today it connects a riot of diverse gadgets that can zip from place to place and connect to many different networks. As the underlying networks have been reworked and added-to to make way for new technologies, some serious inefficiencies and security problems have arisen.
Adding one, a dozen, or hundreds of wireless devices to a network can result in data overload. I currently have an iPad, an iPhone, and a desktop PC in my office, all of which are “talking” to Cannon’s congested current network. The upgrade will provide better coverage and capacity for wireless access on campus, as well as eliminate places in the network that “bottleneck” and can cause traffic to slow. All of these upgrades will help the School stay current and provide new room for growth.
As an experiment, have your family disconnect this weekend and see how long you all last. Let me know how it goes over.