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Slow technology services cause scheduling headaches

April 14th, 2016

Many students encountered issues with Bannerweb and John Carroll University’s Wi-Fi this past week while registering for classes. Bannerweb often correctly did not open and the Wi-Fi was running slowly. This was clearly an obstacle for students eager to sign up for summer and fall classes.

 

Freshman Angie Banoub had a difficult time registering for her classes. “It was really frustrating because my Bannerweb was frozen” said Banoub.

 

Sophomore Anthony Blue also had trouble with Bannerweb. “When the service is disabled, students will be mad about it” he said.

 

Students began noticing these problems on Monday, April 4 and informed the registrar’s office and the IT Help Desk. After each office received five calls, IT staff members Jim Burke and Mike Bestul looked into the problem.

 

According to Burke, the provider that hosts the main server for John Carroll, Rackspace, made an unannounced change to the addresses of the servers over the weekend. The computers at JCU noticed the change and tried to resolve that address. Before the user received an error message, there was a timeout period. The network appeared to be running slowly although this was not the case.

 

Rackspace has been John Carroll’s Internet provider for several years and there have not been any previous problems reported.

 

The IT department changed their records to match the change that the provider made, which solved the problem. IT then sent out an announcement via email to all students explaining the problem and attached the correct link to register for classes.

 

Most web traffic that goes to the main server is from all over the Internet, not just from John Carroll’s campus.

 

Burke said, “When we made that change in the system, it takes time for that change to propagate throughout the system.”

 

Some people wrongly thought that the poor quality of the Internet service was due to John Carroll’s recent adoption of Eduroam.

 

Eduroam is a secure, worldwide roaming access developed for educational institutions. It acts as one large, worldwide, wireless hotspot.

 

When JCU changed to Eduroam, it didn’t change networks, it changed the method of logging into the existing network.

 

With Eduroam, a student is able to log into that network and save his or her profile. Then the student is able to log into the Wi-Fi as a known user at other educational institutions that have Eduroam. Several Ohio schools, such as Case Western Reserve University and The Ohio State University, have already adopted Eduroam.

 

Bestul supports JCU’s adoption of Eduroam. He said, “It provides portability to all these other institutions that are participating members.”

 

Although JCU recently began using Eduroam, that was not the cause of the problems with Bannerweb and the Internet service.