Why is the school Wi-Fi so slow?

Luke Elkins, Staff Writer

Students and staff can come to the consensus in the issues of the school Wi-Fi.

No matter where you are located around AHS, everything seems to take years to load. Messages fail to send in the cafeteria, Instagram posts don’t load in the jock lobby, Snapchats can’t send in the hallways. The list goes on and on.

So just why is the school Wi-Fi so slow?

According to Annandale’s technology specialist, Jennifer Cory, “There are two Wi-Fi systems, FCPSonboard and Fairfax.”

If you login to FCPSonboard with your student ID, a cookie is downloaded on your phone. This cookie allows you to automatically connect to the WI-Fi at any Fairfax County school at any time.

However, by connecting to the Wi-Fi, you allow FCPS to view your browsing information. Signing in as a guest is not a loophole to this. Even when signing in as a guest, all operations performed on the phone can be traced back to yourself.

In fact, signing in as a guest is mostly just a disservice to yourself. You have to sign back into the Wi-Fi after every time you disconnect from it, which isn’t convenient at all.

School Wi-Fi isn’t slow on purpose. It’s not specifically designed to be slow for certain apps.

“There’s not many restrictions, only the ones required by the government. FCPS has a liberal amount of restrictions,” Cory said.

Basic restrictions are placed on sites that may contain disturbing or shocking content, content deemed inappropriate for school kids.

One of the primary reasons the Wi-Fi is slow because it is Wi-Fi used by everyone in the school. It’s the same reason why the Wi-Fi is slow at places like McDonald’s and Starbucks, and why it doesn’t even compare to the speed of your Wi-Fi at home.

The Wi-Fi isn’t made for students to be on social media. 0

It’s a lot easier to traverse the halls quickly during classes, when there will only be a select few people, rather than between classes, when everyone is in the hallway and it’s a lot harder to move quickly from one end to the other.

Public Wi-Fi is being accessed by many people at the same time. This hogs a lot of the bandwidth, or the amount of data that can be carried in a time period.

You’ve probably noticed how much better the Wi-Fi works on the computers at school compared to on mobile devices. This is because there is a private Wi-Fi set up for school computers.

Although the private Wi-Fi on the computers isn’t that good compared to Wi-Fi at your house, it’s still a significant upgrade on the Wi-Fi on mobile devices. Computers are able to load pages much faster than phones are.

FCPS isn’t hiding better Wi-Fi from you though. “The private Wi-Fi is specifically for computers, not phones,” Cory said.

The school Wi-Fi is slow, mostly because fast Wi-Fi is expensive. It may not seem like much money for just Annandale to have fast Wi-Fi, but there are a lot of schools in Fairfax County. It would cost FCPS a lot of money to set up speedy Wi-Fi in all the schools for the whole county.