Let the days of bad Wi-Fi be a thing of the past. Help bring back Ethernet to UNCG!

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In previous years, UNCG enjoyed a certain luxury. Its outdated wireless had been improved, but a crucial factor played into its successful rollout. Even before the wireless network had finally been upgraded, a longtime friend of Internet-goers across campus had been by their side. Unlike its new age brother, the humble ethernet cable proves its speed and reliability to such degrees that wireless simply cannot match it. This year, UNCG decided to make a move that has caused concern and casts doubt on future endeavors. They decided to move the campus to be a fully wireless campus. This meant the removal of the ethernet option within on campus living spaces.

While improvements made to the wireless system can only be beneficial to the school, there are many downsides to removing ethernet connectivity so prematurely. When the two technologies compare in performance, the ethernet cable will win every time both in speed and sheer reliability. Outside of a bad cable, ethernet is steadfast and swift. Wireless is not too far behind in speed, but a far more grievous flaw hinders it. Wireless, as we are all too aware of, is, often, an unreliable tool. It is a diverse tool but not a dependable one. This is one of the most pressing aspects we hope to address.

Students who live on campus are likely aware of how, not once but twice that the UNCG wireless network broke, leaving every device without a direct connection with no way around it. This meant students couldn’t access canvas, the all important tool for many classes. Online assignments? Not until the random, unplanned downtime goes away. This is a sad reality that can occur. Many were fortunate that nothing pressing was due during those two occurrences, though others might have been pressed for even a smidgen of connectivity in a desperate bid to get work submitted. Unfavorable circumstances, indeed.

Now, the question must be asked, “Well, how would bringing back ethernet help alleviate these situations?” There are many answers to such a question. First, ethernet provides an alternative to wireless. Some devices are better with wireless due to mobile nature, but devices such as desktops and TV’s would get much better use from an ethernet cable. This lets bandwidth hungry devices get the raw power they need to load movies and shows without spending an episode’s time just waiting for it to load. The second aspect is a direct result of the first. By moving devices off wireless, it enables UNCG to remove some of the clog on the wireless network. The more devices a wireless router must ‘talk to’, the longer and slower the process becomes for everyone. This is magnified when great amounts of devices across campus decide to ramp up the bandwidth they need. Switching some devices over to the option of ethernet frees up channels to be used for devices that don’t want to always stay in one place. Even if you decide to chill in a free space with a laptop, there is less competition to keep your wireless connection from letting you sneak in some Game of Thrones.

Another reason we seek this change is that it directly wounds UNCG’s ability to support competitive environments for the rise of E-sports. Think competitive video games sound silly? You might be surprised that E-sports are on the rise. There is even discussion about adding E-sports as an official sport to the Olympics! More than ever, E-sports is growing both in fanbase and in professional scenes. Naturally, with such a growing environment before them, many schools are already pursuing collegiate tournaments. The UNCG video game club has been promoting competitive and casual gaming on campus. We have been putting together serious teams to compete in tournaments for actual prizes. With scholarships and other prizes lying in wait, these tournaments can bring a surprising and enviable gift to those who win. Last year, we had a World of Warcraft team take third place in a tournament! We are only growing our base to bring the Competitive scene to UNCG.

However, losing ethernet has dealt a serious blow to our efforts. To the average player, it may be an annoyance. Within a tournament match, all it takes is a moment to decide victory or defeat. With real prize money at stake, the unreliability of wireless becomes a ghastly liability. An ethernet connection will provide stability that can be counted on. Our teams never had issues with the beloved cables. Unfortunately, this has not been the case since their removal. Members both competing and casual have all told similar tales of the Wi-Fi. Some nights it is not so bad. Other nights, it becomes almost unusable. What makes it all worse is that there is no way to know when Wi-Fi will be kind or cruel. While we continue to push forward to bring E-sports to UNCG, we fear the impact of an unreliable wireless network.

What we hope for is a way to bring back the option for ethernet in on campus living. We would be happy to work with UNCG in the process of returning reliable performance to the campus. As wireless improves, there may yet be a day where it is truly consistent. Until that day, the cable is the best choice for anyone who needs the internet but doesn’t need to be on the move. Even if you are not a person who would benefit from ethernet connections, you would still benefit from the reduced amount of strain on the wireless networks. With this petition, there are no losers, only winners. I would like to close with a simple request. I would ask of those who read this to realize how this change would benefit the campus and all students who attend UNCG. If you seek the best for yourselves and for all your fellow students, please stand with us and help make a meaningful change to make UNCG a better place for all.



Today: Sade is counting on you

Sade Skirata needs your help with “We want everyone on campus to enjoy the Internet they need and deserve. Help us improve conditions by bringing back Ethernet connections. Help make UNCG better by improving the conditions for both wired and wireless Internet!”. Join Sade and 193 supporters today.