WiFi intensifies

For students who use a cellphone or a computer at school, the odds are they use ISD 761 WiFi. WiFi is the connection between technology that allows students to network on devices that receive internet. In an interview with ten students, 90 percent of them agreed that the school’s WiFi had  gotten better this year. Senior KeyLee Hoffstatter said, “I get WiFi in the rooms I did not get it in last year.”

Students on their phones before school
Christian Kelling
Students on their phones before school

Head of Technology Information Mike Halverson said, “We also implemented a new firewall and web content filter which may help with the overall speeds.” A firewall is a piece of hardware or software designed to keep out hackers as well as viruses that may try to attack computers through the internet. As of July 1, 2015, the district doubled the overall bandwidth to 1Gbps from the previous 500Mbps. This increase in speed is especially nice for students using their cellphones. Halverson said, “A lot of students will use their data plans, but obviously they can use the WiFi as well.” The increase in speed also means students can save money on data cell phone plans.

Another noticeable change in this year’s WiFi quality is the unbroken connection, which was all too common last year. In response to this year’s stronger WiFi connection, Halverson said, “I would say that’s definitely because of the new firewall. It’s definitely made that change. You could still lose that connection between room to room, or let’s say one area to another, like A and B plaza. You could lose your connection there and may have to reconnect. It probably wouldn’t ask you to log in again, but you may have to reconnect depending on where it is trying to reach.”

Aside from the new firewall and web content filter, the district’s technology has not majorly changed since last year, which means the same number and model of access points are still present. Halverson said, “We do this during the summer, and you anticipate things. But you don’t know until you guys come in and really start using it, and that’s when we find out what is working and what isn’t.” Students are still testing and getting used to the new WiFi, but so far, many are welcoming the change.