WiFi access should be more readily available

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A student is unable to connect to Hawknet24.  Photo taken <br /><figcaption id=Photo taken by: Zach Ooi

Hawknet24 is Townsend Harris’s main WiFi network. As the main Internet source in a high school full of kids with laptops, tablets, and phones, it isn’t uncommon to hear, “Do you know what the WiFi password is?” echoing through the halls. Connecting to the school WiFi network in the past few years has been easy, but this is no longer the case. After Hawknet24 was hit by a virus last year, stricter guidelines have been issued regarding connecting to the school’s WiFi network.

The new system for connecting to the WiFi network requires a student to seek Mr. Tsai and ask him for the WiFi password. Before he gives out the password, the student must register the device the password will be used on. After all this, one would expect the WiFi to be accessible from every room in the building, but sadly, this is not the case. Students face issues connecting to the network in certain parts of the building, and even when they manage to connect, it doesn’t always work.

We aren’t asking for Verizon FiOS or 100 mbps (megabits per second) upload and download speeds, but students should be able to use any tool a school offers them as a means for furthering their education. However, this cannot occur when the tool itself is not even accessible.

Admittedly, it is a luxury to have a WiFi network to begin with. Some schools have their students scanned with metal detectors upon entering the building. But if we have the resources, why not make them available in every part of the school? Having to go through a process to obtain access to the network doesn’t help either. Our WiFi system could use major improvements.

Take the signal issue for example. A simple solution to such a problem would be to add more routers and boost the strength of the WiFi signal. More routers would mean students wouldn’t need to worry about being in the right room; they could look up vocabulary definitions in English on the 4th floor, Spanish conjugations on the 5th floor, and scientific theories on the 6th. Boosting the WiFi signal in the school brings benefits to everyone, everywhere.

The Internet contains a wealth of information, but to reach it, we need WiFi. Our school has WiFi, but it only works in half of the building. By failing to provide an easily accessible and stable WiFi network, the school is depriving students of the chance to enhance their studies through the use of technology. Students may occasionally take advantage of the ability to surf the web, but consider this: When students do research for a paper, or seek information outside of their textbooks, where do they go?

For better or worse, I can assuredly say for most, the answer is not the library.

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