Managing a Wi-Fi community is like bringing cake to the workplace, wrote Aditi Bartl, director of strategic communications for Stanford College IT (UIT). “The extra individuals who present up for cake, the smaller the slice every individual will get.”
Stanford put in its unique Wi-Fi community at Essential Quad in 2001. As extra folks ventured into our on-line world, the capabilities of the community wanted to increase in return. By 2004, Stanford’s campus had roughly 545 entry factors and greater than 1,100 concurrent customers at any given level throughout the daytime. Right now, some 33,000 units entry Stanford’s community via considered one of 17,000 Wi-Fi entry factors per day.
Stanford Wi-Fi tends to carry out at par or above the basic suggestions of the U.S. Federal Communications Fee primarily based on an noticed imply obtain velocity of 100.43 megabits per second in an evaluation by The Every day.
The noticed median obtain velocity of 69.11 megabits per second is significantly decrease and should agree extra intently with college students’ day-to-day experiences utilizing the community.
To evaluate the present efficiency of the Wi-Fi community at Stanford, The Every day collected 65 web connection samples — every of which included obtain velocity, add velocity, latency and packet loss — utilizing the Stanford Wi-Fi community throughout campus from Sept. 28 to Oct. 12, observing important variations in efficiency by location.
This survey doesn’t embody samples from the Gates Pc Science Constructing, during which the Division of Pc Science put in its personal Wi-Fi separate from UIT.
In keeping with Bartl, the separate Wi-Fi is because of the school’s networking analysis. It’s the solely division with its personal Wi-Fi community.
The imply and median obtain speeds throughout all sampled places have been 100.43 and 69.11 megabits per second, respectively, with a peak velocity of 359.68 megabits per second, noticed between Encina Corridor and Knight Administration Middle.
The slowest obtain velocity of 0.6 megabits per second was recorded at an out of doors bench between the Gates Pc Science Constructing and Campus Drive, and the second-slowest was 6.06 megabits per second simply south of the Gunn Constructing. Each of those samples have been taken outdoors fairly than inside a constructing.
The FCC’s Broadband Pace Information supplies the minimal velocity required to stream 4K video as 25 megabits per second. Light-weight internet searching and electronic mail exercise could be achieved with a velocity of 1 megabit per second, in line with the information.
The FCC considers an Web connection high-speed, additionally termed “broadband,” if it achieves obtain speeds of no less than 25 megabits per second and add speeds of no less than three megabits per second, although these definitions are from 2015 and should change at a future date.
The distribution of speeds revealed that 80% of the campus places achieved speeds above the FCC’s broadband requirement of 25 megabits per second, indicating a sturdy community efficiency in these areas. Greater than 40% of samples exhibited speeds above 100 megabits per second.
Alternatively, the latency and packet loss metrics supplied additional insights into the community’s responsiveness and reliability — the decrease the latency, the higher the responsiveness.
Latency is the delay between a consumer motion and the community response. The common latency throughout the campus was 5.15 milliseconds, with the best latency of 14 milliseconds noticed within the Jerry residence by Lake Lagunita.
In laptop networking, when digital content material is distributed via a medium, it’s damaged down into small items, or “packets,” of data. Packet loss represents the proportion of those items that don’t efficiently make it to the top of the journey from transmitter to receiver. A crucial metric for real-time purposes like video conferencing, it averaged to 0.64% within the samples.
A comparative evaluation between obtain and add speeds revealed a correlation coefficient of about 0.87, indicating a robust relationship between the 2 metrics.
The infrastructure for Stanford Wi-Fi is supported by three groups in UIT: LAN Engineering, Set up & Upkeep and Area Engineering. Amongst these groups, the commonest problem in on a regular basis work is that “[w]right here Wi-Fi tools must be positioned to be efficient isn’t at all times pleasing to the attention,” Bartl wrote.
In keeping with Bartl, putting in tools in pupil residences could be notably troublesome.
Chris Davalos ’24 spent winter quarter of his frosh 12 months in Roble Corridor the place he relied on a “actually dodgy” Wi-Fi connection to maintain up together with his coursework. Amid COVID-era restrictions the place distant studying was the dominant mode of instruction, Davalos stated his connection would sporadically drop off, generally for hours at a time — in consequence, he missed some courses.
Davalos has since lived in two completely different Row homes, the place he has seen a normal enchancment in Wi-Fi efficiency. He stated that it might be useful to know extra in regards to the companies that the UIT Assist Desk presents and the place college students can present suggestions.
“Often you simply toughen up,” Davalos stated in reference to on a regular basis technical difficulties in connecting to the Web. “Is that one thing we must be reporting so [UIT] know[s], or do they already know?”
A wired connection will at all times carry out higher than a wi-fi one, Bartl wrote. With a wired connection, reminiscent of that via an Ethernet port in a dorm, there’s one devoted connection for that gadget, and its power isn’t affected by whoever else is on-line.
For wi-fi connections, getting on-line is usually a zero-sum recreation for people who’re remotely (and maybe unknowingly) sharing the identical medium — the Wi-Fi entry level — relying on the sorts of software program which can be accessing the community.
Final 12 months, Christian Gebhardt ’24 and his roommate arrange their very own wi-fi community after two weeks of being unable to hook up with Wi-Fi in EVGR-A Duan Household Corridor.
“[We] filed a report saying we didn’t get Wi-Fi — problem by no means modified,” Gebhardt stated. “There wasn’t something [UIT] might do about it.”
Although they may have plugged their units immediately into the native space community with out a router, Gebhardt stated that he solely discovered ports within the frequent room of his EVGR house, fairly than the bed room.
Gebhardt additionally seen a weak cell connection in EVGR-A, which prevented him from taking calls.
“If you happen to’re strolling via the dorm, you’ll lose cell service,” he stated. “In order that was annoying … you could possibly form of mitigate it in the event you used Wi-Fi calling, however our room didn’t have Wi-Fi.”
In keeping with Bartl, older Wi-Fi tools tends to fluctuate in efficiency because of the nature of their design, however UIT is upgrading the Wi-Fi in a number of places, particularly densely populated areas.
“We’re presently upgrading the campus to Wi-Fi 5 or higher, and are working to simplify, improve and increase Wi-Fi entry and availability for college kids, school and employees,” she wrote.
The upgrades are anticipated to allow newer units to make the most of the higher protocols of the day, together with Wi-Fi 6/6E. The Wi-Fi 6E wi-fi normal comes with the most recent connectivity optimizations and may function on 2.4-, 5- and 6-gigahertz radio bands.
For official sources and data on Stanford Wi-Fi, Bartl pointed to the Stanford Wi-fi Community and Providers internet web page, which incorporates hyperlinks to the assistance ticket type, ongoing initiatives and devoted standing maps for indoor and out of doors community protection.