With the switch to Eduroam as Northwestern’s primary Wi-Fi network, many students are unhappy


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Some students struggle to connect to Zoom classes with Northwestern’s new Wi-Fi network.

Nicole Feldman, Reporter

Some students believe Northwestern’s switch to eduroam as the primary Wi-Fi network has slowed down their internet speed and caused connectivity issues.

Eduroam became NU’s primary Wi-Fi network on Feb. 2. Many students were previously connected to the “Northwestern” Wi-Fi network. According to the University’s Information Technology website, the “Northwestern” and eduroam SSIDs were functionally duplicate services that offered the same performance and security. 

The transition to eduroam began last spring. The NU community was “urged” to switch to this network, and users connected to the “Northwestern” SSID received monthly reminders to join.

“Phasing out the ‘Northwestern’ SSID reduces a layer of service management and will improve overall wireless network performance,” the project overview stated. 

The project’s goals included continuing to provide an uninterrupted wireless connection, making device setup easier, developing a more efficient service management and enhancing the overall network performance. 

However, many students said this change did not meet their expectations. 

Weinberg freshman Grace Coolidge recalled trying to connect to a class on Zoom last week. She said she had trouble joining the meeting and was kicked off multiple times once she was connected. Coolidge said her experiences with eduroam were “frustrating.” 

Several students said they have disconnected from the Wi-Fi on their phones and are using cellular data. 

Weinberg freshman Mia Costa said since the “Northwestern” SSID was removed, she has had trouble connecting to meetings, attending online classes and doing homework. 

“I’ve noticed my Wi-Fi cuts out much more on eduroam, and I get kicked off the network multiple times a week, which can be quite stressful at times,” Costa said. “I’ve started using my cellular data at night; I’ve noticed the service is much slower during this time, since everyone is trying to use the network.”

Weinberg freshman Moises Attie said he has not felt much of a change in the internet speed since eduroam has become the primary Wi-Fi. However, he said he still struggles with the wireless connection at NU. 

“The network is not nearly close to what I would expect from a prestigious school like Northwestern,” Attie said. “More often than not, the Wi-Fi is failing.”

Since the switch to eduroam, Weinberg freshman Jessica Herlitz said her computer has had issues connecting to the Wi-Fi. She said this switch has made it difficult for her to take notes during class. 

But McCormick sophomore Carlos Vasquez said he is happy to automatically connect to other college campuses’ Wi-Fi networks with eduroam.

“While I have suffered stressful internet outages, I did experience something positive in having free and open internet access in other universities that use eduroam,” Vasquez said. “This happened to me while visiting my friend at The George Washington University, which was very convenient.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @nicolefeldman_

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