By Juliana Diaz
According to Union’s technology services information page, Union provides high-speed Internet and state-of-the-art wireless and wired access.
While Union might be providing “high-speed Internet,” many students would not describe the Internet connection on campus as “high-speed” or reliable.
For example, Mia DiRienzo ’18 shared, “I usually turn off my Wi-Fi on my phone when I need to do something quick and important. It’s just faster.”
Another student nearby added they use a lot of cellular data because the Internet is so slow.
For some people the speed and reliability of their Internet service back home is far better. Regardless of the quality of the Internet, congestion is one of the more common factors that affects Internet speed and reliability.
Perhaps the dissatisfaction with the Internet speed and service has to do with the number of people trying to access data at the same time.
Union has two networks: “ResNet” and “union.” ResNet is provided by Apogee, a company that provides internet services to residences.
All students have the option of using the basic package or paying for an upgrade on their download speed.
Download speed and upload speed describe bandwidth and are measured in megabits per second.
Bandwidth is analogous to how many lanes a highway has. The more bandwidth, the more “lanes” exist to transfer data.
So, download speed describes how much data can be “consumed” per second, while upload speed describes how much data can be transferred per second.
The basic package available on ResNet has a download speed of 5 Mbps. This is perfect for emailing, streaming short Youtube videos, checking Facebook and Googling. The union network has a download speed of 54.92 Mbps. And in New York City, the average download speed is 47.11 Mbps.
However, more bandwidth does not necessarily translate to having a faster Internet speed.
ResNet is a perfect example. Trying to access any information on the Internet during meal hours at West takes a while.
Additionally, bandwidth only describes half the picture.
The Internet is also affected by latency, or ping rate. Latency measures the amount of time it takes for data to be spent from point A to point B.
So while increasing bandwidth might give the user the impression his or her internet speed is greater, in reality the data is still moving at the same speed and still needs to travel the same distance.
High-speed Internet is a generic term for being faster than the average dial-up. “High-speed” service providers range from 7.1 to 50 Mbps.
ResNet does not meet the average service provider of high-speed Internet, but the Union network exceeds it.