Castleton has plans to speed up the internet

A lot of students at Castleton State College complain about Internet speed, but there is good news. Over the summer an upgrade is doubling the available bandwidth.
The current bandwidth for the Vermont State College schools is 50 megabytes per second, but the schools “decided to increase bandwidth to 100 (megabytes) everywhere,” said Chief Technology Officer Gayle Morris Malinowski.
The new residential hall being built on campus is “one reason why we definitely need that upgrade,” said Local Area Network/Systems Administrator Jonathon Czar when asked what that meant for student Internet users.
The reason for the upgrade is the heavy usage of the Internet with Castleton students using it consistently from about 9 a.m. to about midnight, based on a chart displayed by Czar.
Having looked at what other schools offer, Czar said he is impressed by Middlebury College’s Internet, which has 10 times the bandwidth. But he added they have three times the tuition.
“I did overhear one of the network administrators saying that, yeah they still get complaints,” he said.
A lot of the heavy usage at Castleton comes from people on their laptops or game consoles during the day, which sometimes does not allow students to play online or use services like Netflix due to the slow connection.
“The only time you could [game] was pretty much 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.” said Castleton senior Ricky Surmanek. “All of us would be up from like one in the morning to six.”
Students say they want better Internet, but at what cost? And how much better could it be?
“Anything is possible, but it takes time, and then a lot of research and planning,” said Malinowski.
And any major increase in bandwidth would come at a cost paid by students.
One student said she would pay more for better Internet, but only “25 bucks maybe.”
“I really couldn’t afford to pay more than that,” said Castleton sophomore Samantha Boyd, and only “If it meant my websites wouldn’t pause (or need to) connect to it 100 times.”
Part of the problem is how the bandwidth is allocated, school officials said.
“They split the bandwidth between the academic and the student life side,” said communication department Chair Bob Gershon.
So another possible solution is to just allow all 50 megabytes to be used by everyone on campus.
One problem with that idea of sharing the two though, is that “It would be disastrously slower for people in classes,” said Gershon, which he said could “cripple my ability to teach.”
Gershon seemed more optimistic about students paying for better Internet though.
“They might pay more for a guaranteed upgrade,” he said, but he added that it would have to be universal to all students.
Most likely the upgrade will help a little bit, but probably not enough to appease students’ wants. Until then, some students, like Surmanek, will likely still be up early in the morning gaming away.
“We were probably the biggest nerds on campus,” he said.

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