Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Improving Your Wireless Experience on Campus

Exams are fast approaching which means that wireless usage peaks during this time. Here are some tips on how to improve your experience using wireless.

If you need help with wireless connection problems, please refer to our Wireless FAQs. You can also contact the IT Support Centre by calling 613.533.6666 during regular business hours, or by filling out the online help form.

1. Got #StaufferProblems?

We know that Stauffer is the library of choice on campus, and that is well demonstrated in the network traffic logs. We also know that network demand in Stauffer increases considerably before and during exams. A lot of work has gone into ensuring that the wireless in Stauffer can handle peak demand, and the expectation is that it will. We monitor traffic performance and are seeing a vast improvement over the Fall Term.

If you are having wireless issues, we encourage you to report the problem to us. Our IT Help Desk is conveniently located on the main floor of Stauffer, so you can stop by during business hours and speak with our staff. If there's a wait, you can also call the IT Support Centre at 613-533-6666.

Did you know??

Besides Stauffer, there are several places with wireless network access, including all other libraries. We now have 61 buildings on the main campus with wireless in classrooms and public spaces, and we're adding more! These buildings are the latest to get full coverage:

  • Goodwin Hall
  • Kingston Hall
  • Biosciences
  • Earl Hall
  • Humphrey Hall
  • Abramsky Hall

Check out this Wireless Map to see our progress...

2. "The Tragedy of the Learning Commons"

We understand how frustrating it is when you're trying to work and the network is slow. Wireless is a shared medium that everyone needs to use on a daily basis, so you're not alone! While we have been working to optimize bandwidth, other factors can affect the quality of service.

Having many devices connected to an access point increases the demand on bandwidth and reduces performance around that point. If you notice many others using wireless in one spot and you're experiencing slowness, try moving to a less occupied area.

The location of an access point may also affect signal quality. Reception will be weaker from behind a concrete wall or outside of a building. And while we have many beautiful limestone buildings on campus, they unfortunately create certain challenges to our wireless networks. As we continue to add more access points in buildings, we give priority to libraries, classrooms and public spaces. These are your best bet for a stronger signal.

Did you know??

On a typical afternoon two weeks before final exams, we've seen between 10,000 - 11,000 devices connected to the wireless networks at a given time, with traffic ranging between 650 - 700 Mbps. To give you an idea of how this compares with overall bandwidth (wired and wireless), our broadband capacity is shared between two ISPs at 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps respectively. This means that current usage is still well within our network capabilities.

3. BYOD Responsibly

If you've never heard the term, "BYOD," it means "Bring Your Own Device." We fully encourage the use of technology to make life and work easier. But sometimes convenience comes at a cost.

We've already mentioned how increased demand on the network in a given place can affect performance, but that doesn't necessarily mean that people need to start vacating the area. Network statistics from Stauffer show that even when there are many devices connected at a given time, the usage is actually quite low. This indicates that many of these devices are not in use, though they are still using network resources.

So if you're using multiple wireless devices - such as your laptop, phone or iPod - consider turning off the ones you aren't using, or at least switch off the wireless until you need it. It will also help you concentrate and save battery power!

Did you know??

Wireless devices continually talk to the access point they are connected to. Even if the device isn't sending data, it's still using resources. This can be especially problematic when working in groups. Even if only one person is using the Internet, having several people in close proximity with multiple competing devices will affect the connection.

4. Choose "QueensuSecure_WPA2"

The recommended network at Queen's is "QueensuSecure_WPA2." It uses WPA2 encryption, for better security and reliability. And connecting to it is easy - log in once with your NetID and password, and you'll automatically connect anytime you're within range. For help configuring your connection settings, please see our Wireless Networking Tutorials.

Did you know??

Queen's has two other options for wireless networks:

  • The "queensu" network is unsecured and intended for computers that are unable to use WPA2 security. It usually requires a web browser to authenticate, which means you have to log in each time you use it.
  • Queen's also provides " eduroam " - a secure, wireless network that allows students, staff and faculty to access the Internet at participating institutions. Just use your full NetID email address to connect - here at Queen's or any school where eduroam is available.

6. Timing is Everything

Just like with public utilities, there are certain times of the day when access to wireless is more critically important than others. Predictably, we see the most network activity during weekday mornings and afternoons when students and staff are hard at work.

Being conscientious about "time of use" can go a long way in reducing network congestion. This means managing usage priorities and choosing different times or days for bandwidth-consuming activities. Consider waiting until later in the evening for things like video chats, streaming media, online gaming and file sharing (hopefully legal!) It also makes sense to schedule any backups or software updates for off-peak times - or better, use a wired connection for these tasks.

Did you know??

You will greatly improve your wireless experience by keeping your computer and devices up to date. Perform all regular updates for your operating system, firmware, drivers, security software and other applications.

7. Be Informed

While we do everything we can to make sure our networks are running smoothly, sometimes incidents do occur that are beyond our control. Whenever there is a service disruption, we will post a notification on our website as soon as we are aware of it. We also provide advance notice for planned outages when scheduling maintenance work, but this is usually outside of regular work hours. We would never plan outages during exam time unless it's an emergency.

ITServices notifications are also posted in MyQueensU, so you can check to see if there are ongoing issues at any time - as long as you have Internet access. If you and others around you are unable to connect to the wireless network, you can check the notifications using your phone's cellular data or a wired connection. And you can always contact the IT Support Centre by calling 613.533.6666, or just stop by the IT Help Desk in Stauffer Library to find out what's happening.

Did you know??

ITServices notifications are also available as RSS feeds. You can subscribe to any of our feeds for regular updates about our services. These are classified by category - such as email or networks - and you can subscribe to a specific category or all of our services in a single feed.

To subscribe, visit the notifications page and click on the RSS icon (RSS icon) for the category that interests you. The feed will open in your default RSS reader (for example, Outlook or Firefox.)