On Oct. 5, Palm Beach Atlantic University rolled out an update to the school’s Wi-Fi policy. This new update requires anybody who wants to use the university’s internet to install a software called SafeConnect. The program allows the network administrator to block certain programs from being run on the Palm Beach Atlantic University Wi-Fi network. This is to make sure that certain programs (most notably those used for internet piracy, such as BitTorrent) cannot be used on the school network. Unfortunately, this program has caused some issues for students and their technology.
When the requirement to install SafeConnect was first implemented, it was done so without any announcement about it, leaving many students unable to access the Wi-Fi to finish their schoolwork until they figured out how to install it. Even beyond that, people are having issues with their internet connections.
“When I log [onto] my computer I always have to reconnect to the Wi-Fi, and my phone has a hard time with it,” said Max Alvarez, a PBA student.
One problem with the new Wi-Fi policy is how it was implemented. Instead of the college giving an announcement about the update, they simply made the change without any warning. This left many students unsure how to connect to the internet with the new parameters on a Wednesday night, many with assignments due the next day. The fact that the software is interfering with printers across the campus is an especially glaring problem.
As mentioned, another major issue with SafeConnect is that it has effectively rendered every single wireless printer on campus unusable. Since wireless printers use Wi-Fi to connect to computers and the Wi-Fi network requires users to install SafeConnect in order to access it, wireless printers cannot connect to any computers because they cannot download the software.
“Because of the Wi-Fi change I can’t connect [my printer] to the Wi-Fi,” said Luke Manda, another PBA student.
When asked how long, he responded that the printer issue had been going on for about a week.
This is the most problematic aspect of the new software. Any student who uses a wireless printer cannot print their assignments for class, and this issue cannot be remedied until the people in charge of the campus’s internet policy fix it. “Since it’s interfering with the wireless printers and I can’t print anything because of it, it’s pretty annoying” said Palm Beach Atlantic student on the printer issue. When asked if they knew about how SafeConnect is affecting printers on campus and how they planned to fix the issue, Campus Information Services did not respond.