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LT troubleshoots Internet issues

Students+work+in+the+SC+Discovery+Center+after+school%2C+despite+the+persistant+connection+issues+%28Schmitt%2FLION%29.
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LT troubleshoots Internet issues

Students work in the SC Discovery Center after school, despite the persistant connection issues (Schmitt/LION).

Students work in the SC Discovery Center after school, despite the persistant connection issues (Schmitt/LION).

Students work in the SC Discovery Center after school, despite the persistant connection issues (Schmitt/LION).

Students work in the SC Discovery Center after school, despite the persistant connection issues (Schmitt/LION).

Taylor Schmitt, Website/Social Media co-editor

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Since Wi-Fi was made available to students on Jan. 16 this year, the district has been experiencing Internet access issues. The issues affect every device across the district network, including the district-owned PC’s in the DC, as well as students’ private devices.

“Bluntly, when things are working well, it’s working really well,” Ed Tennant, LT’s Director of Technology Services, said. “Yet we’ve had some weird interruptions that we’re scrambling to resolve. We’ve been going through all the steps of a really scientific process of trying to identify that root cause.”

The cause that they have identified so far has been the web content filter for the entire district, Tennant said. All of the Internet traffic from the district has to flow through the filter to prevent inappropriate Internet access. However, the filter has been having trouble processing the information, despite the fact that, according to the manufacturer, it is able to handle the number of devices. In fact, the physical hardware has the ability to handle more than 12 thousand users.

“For a while it was happening pretty consistently at a particular time,” Tennant said.

The administration recently purchased a new solution to the problem which will be installed as soon as it arrives from the manufacturer, Tennant wrote in an email to LT faculty. The team hopes that the switch, which would normally happen during the summer months, will solve the issue, Tennant said.

“Feedback has been good,” Tennant said. “We’ve had some very nice statements of support, people understanding that we’re not trying to do this, but we’re trying to fix it. Others have been helpfully blunt about how it’s impacting them when we have an outage.”

The tech team has also tried to combat the problems by turning the student Wi-Fi on and off at particular times and turning particular services, such as social media and streaming, on or off as well, Tennant said. The goal of these network traffic studies is to identify which services cause the issue.

“As it stands, we’re really trying hard—vendor, tech team, everybody that’s involved—to work through these scenarios to learn as much as we can as fast as we can to minimize the problems,” Tennant said.

Additionally, the tech team has updated the hardware and patched the software that pertains to the web content filter.

“Our goal is to provide opportunities for our teachers to continue to strengthen and enrich instruction in lots of modalities,” Kevin Brown, NC Associate Principal said. “It is absolutely true that we want to provide a culture where teachers can take risks, try things, make mistakes. A rich environment where our faculty feels respected and supported.”

Tennant and his team have been working on the problems since they have been made aware of them, Brown said. They want to get the Wi-Fi back up as soon as possible, so that teachers feel comfortable enough to use it without the interruptions that are currently plaguing the district.

“I apologize for the interferences that we’ve seen and the lack of consistency, Tennant said. “But I’m really appreciative of the assistance that is being provided in helping us identify some root causes as we go along, and for your patience and flexibility as we learn and grow with the new systems. The support of the tech team is really important and we are graciously thankful for that.”

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About the Writer
Taylor Schmitt, Website/Social Media co-editor

I’m a Co-Web/Social Media editor for the LION! When I’m not posting on the website, you can usually find me in the Reber Center acting or searching...

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