Fix IUMW’s Wi-Fi NOW!!!

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The Reason for this Petition

Students have complained multiple times to the Management about this issue that we are facing, however, no improvement has been made so far and the ICT Department has not acknowledged or responded on the issue we are facing now.

The Problem

Starting from the 2nd week of September, we (the students) have been facing many Wi-Fi related issues, most of them are Captive Portal related. They include:

  1. Smartphones (Android and iOS alike) are unable to detect the presence of a Captive Portal.
  2. Most of the time, even if the phone successfully detected the presence of Captive Portal, we are unable to load the Captive Portal page correctly (timed-out during load).
  3. Unable to log in at Captive Portal even if credentials are correct.
  4. Slow and unreliable connection even if we successfully logged in at the Captive Portal.

The situation of "no one in the entire class has connected successfully to the network for days" has become a norm among the students. Thus it is not surprising that, "Is the Wi-Fi working" turned into the "greetings" we have each other when we each morning.

The situation is so bad that even faculty staffs have started complaining, let alone students.

Effects of the Problem

When the Wi-Fi network is down at times where the Internet is crucial for activities during lectures (interactive presentations or tutorials), we are left with no choice but to use our own Mobile Data. However, not every student could afford to subscribe to them, thus, they can't join the activities in class.

The worse part is that the mobile coverage in our campus is very limited for all of the operators, especially in classroom areas, thus causing the mobile data connection to be very unreliable. This slows us down during in-class activities as compared to having a reliable Wi-Fi network in class.

Please keep in mind that all of the students have paid the "Facilities Fees" as part of our fees in the University, please use the fees collected to upgrade and ensure that the Wi-Fi network works.

Suggested Solution

The suggested solution will be separated into 2 parts, the authentication part, and the Wi-Fi infrastructure part.

1. Authentication for the Users.

Captive Portal is a very useful marketing tool for shops and businesses to sell their products to their clients. However, in our opinion, it shouldn't be used to authenticate students who have to log into the network on a daily basis. Other than that, Captive Portal if the main issue faced by users trying to connect to the network as mentioned in "The Problem" section of this petition.

Therefore, we suggest that the ICT Department to change the authentication method to WPA2-Enterprise which uses Extended Authentication Protocol (EAP). This allows us to only log in once at the firs time and our devices will log-in automatically after that. In this way, students won't have to log-in every morning when we enter the class.

The other benefit of implementing WPA2-Enterprise is that we can provide "eduroam" service to our students going abroad and visiting scholars to our university! "eduroam" has been implemented by both IUMW's parent universities namely, University of Malaya (UM) and University of Wales, Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). There are many other private universities which have implemented "eduroam" such as Monash University, University of Nottingham and University of Nottingham.

2. Wi-Fi Infrastructure.

IUMW has deployed Ruckus Wireless APs in the campus, however, most of them (the Ruckus 7363s) has been declared End-Of-Life by Ruckus back in May 2014. Therefore maybe it's the right time to upgrade the network now to the 802.11ac solutions.

We would suggest Cisco and Aruba Networks for the network upgrade as both of them constantly ranked as the "Leaders" in Wired and WLAN Access Magic Quadrant by Gartner.

It is worth noting that UM has been using Aruba Networks for years and their Wi-Fi network has always been excellent even in high-density conditions.

 

Thank you for reading this petition. We hope that the problem will be fixed as soon as possible. :-)



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