Faster Internet is not just a hope for students at McDaniel, it’s an ongoing process. Esther Iglich, chief information officer at the IT department, said, “Every one to two years the IT department at McDaniel works to double the bandwidth. It’s always being upgraded.”
Many students have complained about the speed of the Internet at McDaniel, whether it be through Wi-Fi or through a wired network. One student mentioned that, “Later at night, when you want to do your work, it’s hard because everyone is on and the Internet is really slow.” This student is not alone in his complaint.
Just five years ago the school was running on 24 megabits. The IT department upgraded that to 50, then a year later 100, and finally installed another 100 megabit line in order to give us the 200 megabits we have today.
Iglich explained, “Sometime next summer there will be a fiber optic pipeline that connects all the counties together. McDaniel plans to buy rights to tap into that pipeline and access bandwidth there.” The reason for this is so that in future years, doubling bandwidth will not be as expensive as it usually is when hiring private companies to come to the school. The counties affected will be Carroll, Howard, Frederick, Montgomery, and Baltimore.
The school hopes to go from the 200 megabits we have now, to 500 in the next upgrade, which should happen within the next two years. Currently it is thousands of dollars a month to supply the school with bandwidth from private companies. By tapping into this pipeline, McDaniel will save money.
Just a few years ago most of the students accessed the internet through Ethernet cables. “Now,” Iglich said, “about 80 to 90 percent of students access the internet through Wi-Fi. Whether it be through laptops, phones, or tablets.”
“We are an ISP of our own entity”, Iglich said (ISP means internet service provider). “Between all of the residential students, classrooms, offices, and more, the school supplies bandwidth to the equivalent of a small town.”
“The more bandwidth, the better,” Inglich continues. This is why the IT department here is constantly trying to enhance our internet experience to avoid the other option for internet use. This option would be the students having to buy their own internet from other ISPs which other schools have had to resort to.
The McDaniel IT department continues to move into the future with better technology and continues to adapt to the changes of internet usage by students.