College to increase internet speeds

by Marissa Lilly | 3/3/13 11:00pm

The College will double the Internet bandwidth in the upoming months in order to increase speeds and reduce connectivity issues.
by Cirrus Foroughi / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth's Internet currently has a speed of two gigabits per second, and is split between the two service providers. The speed refers to the total amount of data the College can receive at any given time.

Each provider will increase the bandwidth it provides the College to two gigabits, effectively doubling Internet speed to a total of four gigabits per second.

Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire are developing a statewide fiber ring to improve bandwidth at both schools.

Archambeault said he expects the fiber ring to be completed by the end of this month, leading to changes in Internet connectivity at the College by late April.

The statewide fiber initiative is funded by the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

A separate and concurrent project will increase bandwidth and will only affect the Internet at Dartmouth.

These changes should be completed by July 1.

The two projects will occur at different times in order to reduce the impact of maintenance on Internet speeds.

Although College affiliates currently use roughly 40 to 50 percent of the bandwidth, Archambeault said that the decision was based on the desire to reduce problems that College users experience with Internet speed.

"It's really about continuing analyzing utilization and making sure we provide enough capacity for the campus," Archambeault said. "We regularly watch that service and reach out and try to understand what projects are coming from the College, whether there's any projects that require large bandwidth."

Students said they were pleased to hear the College's bandwith would double, especially given slow Internet speeds.

Corinne Romano '15 said a bandwith increase could improve students' Internet access during busy times of the day.

"A faster Internet would be awesome," Romano said. "There are times of day when everybody's on, and I can't get anything done."

Some students said they have difficulty even accessing wireless Internet and must use an ethernet cable to reach sufficiently fast speeds.

The change may benefit students who rely on ethernet cables for Internet access.

"I live in Lord this year, and we almost never have Internet," Rachel Siegel '14 said. "I have to use an Ethernet cable, and even then the service is only sometimes decent."

Students interviewed said they thought an increase in bandwidth would permit them to more effectively access course materials that may not load quickly with the current Internet connection, such as educational videos and recorded lectures.

The increase in bandwidth follows previous attempts by Network Services to increase Dartmouth's Internet speed.

In spring 2011, to assist with the end of semester increase in bandwidth, Network Services upgraded the College's bandwidth from each Internet provider from 200 megabits per second to 400 megabits per second.