Supply chain issues delay Wi-Fi router upgrades


Emily Thomas

Supply chain issues have delayed the upgrade of Wi-Fi routers on campus, generating a slower internet connection.

According to Chief Information Officer Brian Paige, delivery of some of the parts needed to upgrade campus Wi-Fi routers has been delayed significantly due to supply chain issues.

Paige told Chimes that different manufacturers in Asia and Eastern Europe are having difficulty getting those parts assembled. This delay has caused the technology supply chain to slow. At Calvin that slowness means the current Wi-Fi system cannot yet be upgraded to a newer model. 

“It’s been compounded by COVID, by global unrest, by the economy.”

Technology requires lots of different components, and particularly wireless access points. Computers, network gear all of those are assembled from pieces and parts that come from all over the world,” Paige said. 

COVID-19 and other disruptions to the global economy have contributed to the backup, according to Paige. “It’s been compounded by COVID, by global unrest, by the economy … but I suspect that companies don’t want to keep as much inventory,” Paige said.

According to seniors Amy Miller and Caitlin Bair who work in the Hekman Library, the library is the most popular place for students to study and hang out. The main floor of the library is often packed with students, especially after chapel break. 

“This is the first year where I feel like the Wi-Fi has had considerable issues.”

Miller said there are times when she gets kicked off the network. When there are many people in the library using the internet, the Wi-Fi can become unreliable.  “I think sometimes when there’s a lot of people, at least in the library at one time, it feels like things are slower or that I get kicked off sometimes,” Miller said.

Bair told Chimes that over the summer she had trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi on campus. This led to many trips to the CIT helpdesk. She has noticed it has been connecting slightly better during the school year, but it is still slow from time to time.

This is the first year where I feel like the Wi-Fi has had considerable issues,” Bair said.

Quality Wi-Fi has become increasingly important in recent years. Since COVID, more classes have relied on virtual assignments and lectures. Students depend on the Wi-Fi working and when it does not, it can be frustrating to battle with the network. “With COVID that expanded, even more, watching lectures on Moodle sometimes or different parts are now online, it’s a little frustrating, ” said Miller.

According to Paige, there is no set day or time when the new parts will come in order to upgrade the Wi-Fi. Until the parts come in, staff are monitoring all of the access points on campus. Whenever they detect a problem they troubleshoot or reboot. 

They are constantly contacting vendors to get updates on where the parts are at with shipping, Paige told Chimes.