‘Faster’ gaming network not so fast

Evan Graening

For the first time at Kent State, a new gaming wireless network, solely for gaming consoles, became available to students living in the residence halls.

It provides greater speed and increased flexibility for students with gaming consoles but has suffered setbacks from connection issues in its first week of use.

“A big campus network like Kent State’s is complicated,” Senior Network Design Engineer Dave Wallace said. “There’s no sugarcoating it. It’s like a battleship. It doesn’t turn on a dime. These minute changes that you implement to your network have consequences across the entire network.”

Wallace works with a team of people in the Information Services department to closely monitor the newly added wireless network.

The consequences that Wallace refers to happened on the opening weekend of school and have lingered through the past week with many students unable to connect to the wireless gaming network or being frequently disconnected.

“This is new for us, so we are still working out the bugs,” Wallace said. “There are things we don’t know, like how Xbox sets up games or how PS3 does it a certain way.”

According to Wallace, one of the most notable issues is that the network does not support the Nintendo Wii because of security risks it poses to other devices.

Wallace said if the Nintendo Wii is added at this time, other gaming consoles would experience connection issues.

“We’ve got to really think about if that is something that we can support today—maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, maybe next semester, maybe a couple code releases on their end or even on our end,” Wallace said.

According to Jason Wearley, Executive Director of Information Services, a fix for the Wii is currently being looked into, but if students would like to play their Wii online, they may request a wired connection in their dorm rooms. However, Wearely believes a fix can happen.

“I probably ask Dave three to five times a day if the Wii is fixed,” Wearley said.

Wearley and Wallace both agree that this year the overall network for gamers will be a better experience. With the bandwidth—connection speed—between users being doubled from 200 megabits shared to 400 megabits shared, the network as a whole can only get better as the semester progresses.

Along with faster speeds, Wallace said students will notice that streaming HD video on Netflix is a much smoother experience in comparison to last year.

“Most of your multimedia applications—Netflix, Hulu—those sort of apps are going to be flawless,” Wallace said. “You should even be able to get to HD Netflix depending on the total utilization at that moment.”

Wearley said he understands users will experience issues throughout the semester, but “I encourage anybody who is having problems to contact our Tech Spot so we are at least aware of the problem and can prioritize and group them together. If they’re not reported, we can’t fix them.”

Evan Graening is the technology reporter.

What the students are saying:

Shawn George


Aeronautical Systems Technology Engineering

“The first days we were here it kept cutting off, and then we couldn’t even connect. The connection has been laggy, slow and now you’re lucky if you even get it at all.”

Doug Flower


Computer Information Systems

“It’s all right, but it could use some improvement. Connection has been slow. Sometimes it takes more than one try to sign in.”

A.J. Schehr



“So far I haven’t had any problems with it. I have never had a problem with the gaming network.”

Michael Debolt


Architectural Studies

“Sometimes it disconnects, but so far it’s done pretty well. It’s actually improved.

I would rather have an Ethernet port, but as far as Wi-Fi goes, it’s working pretty well.”

Christopher Gray,



“At first I wasn’t a big fan of it because they had the strict settings on way too high. As soon as I got a wired connection for my computer, the wireless signal going to my room has been superb.”

Contact Evan Graening at [email protected].