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It's a quiet Tuesday night, and you and your laptop are settling down for some Doctor Who instant streaming on Netflix. Just as the weeping angels are ready to .....  Before you tweet about SUNY Geneseo wifi not working, let's take a look at how the network works.

The campus network is composed of many different parts. The path to Netflix is a long, complicated journey.

  1. The connection between your computer and the wireless access point
  2. The wireless access point to the campus core
  3. Campus core to Time Warner (our ISP)
  4. Time Warner to the rest of the Internet
1. Your computer's connection to Geneseo's access points

Your wireless connection to an access point can be affected a number of ways. Cordless telephones, microwaves, other peoples' computers, wireless printers, and building materials can all degrade your speed experience. Picture you are in a crowded art gallery with a lot of people talking and you are trying to make a phone call. Your wireless connection has the same issues of not being able to "hear" the access point and the access point provides connections to everyone around you as well.

How can I make it better?

  • Move to a less crowded area.
  • Change your computer's wifi connection to use 801.11a
  • Turn off your wifi connection and plug in
2. The wireless access point to the campus core

The access points are connected via wired connections to the campus core. These connections are very fast, and you can check the speed of the connection between your computer and the campus core by going to: http://mrtg.geneseo.edu/bandwidth You can expect a bandwidth reading more than 20 Mbps - which is twice as fast as a normal Road Runner home internet installation. Anything lower than 1 Mbps is a cause for concern, please email helpdesk@geneseo.edu with your location as soon as possible!

3. Campus core to Time Warner

Your computer shares the equivalent of 40 Time Warner Road Runner internet connections with over 3000 people to the outside world. This pipe tends to be congested between the hours of 2:00pm and 4:00am. You can see how much traffic is occurring by going to http://mrtg.geneseo.edu/cgi-bin/i11min2.pl To see how fast our connection from Geneseo to Time Warner is currently, go to: http://speedtest.twrochester.com/speedtest.php Download speeds vary widely depending on what time of day you run the test. Here again, we are hoping for a download speed more than 1 Mbps (which is easily attainable at 9am in Starbucks, but may not happen at 9pm anywhere).

4. Time Warner to the rest of the Internet

By the time your computer's request reaches Netflix's servers, you may solidly be in the middle of a "Rush Hour" traffic jam. Your packets have left the driveway of Geneseo, traveled Time Warner Main Street, and are onto the Internet super highway. At this point, check out the Global Broadband Speed Test at http://speedtest.net. Sipping my morning latte, my download speeds from Reno, NV are 3.52 Mbps - a third of the speed from Time Warner, and a seventh of our campus network speeds.


If your "Internet is slow", try these three speed tests. We expect that performance on campus (and access to our on-campus resources like email, \\files, and the Geneseo web server) is not where the slowdown is. It is more probable that the slow down is occurring between Geneseo and Time Warner or Time Warner and the rest of the Internet. Please feel free to email us at helpdesk@geneseo.edu if you have any questions and include the speed tests for Time Warner and speedtest.net so that we can investigate further.

 

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