The Daily Gamecock

USC Wi-Fi to see vast improvements


 In April, USC was thrust into infamy after a screenshotted Snapchat of a student listing a racial slur as one of the “Reasons why USC WiFi blows” circulated on multiple social media platforms. In response, the university suspended the student and is planning to rework the Carolinian Creed as a contract rather than an ethics-based document. And now, the decision has been made to improve Wi-Fi connection and make it more secure through a number of policy changes and upgrades.

University Technology Services (UTS) has taken several measures into consideration over the summer to improve the Wi-Fi in both residence halls and classrooms. In 13 classrooms with the seating capacity of 100 or more, UTS technicians have installed new wireless access points with the latest standard, 802.11ac, and specialized antennas to increase the number of people who can utilize the Wi-Fi network at one time. The 13 classrooms that will have increased bandwidth capabilities are located in the following buildings: Coker Life Sciences, the Darla Moore School of Business, Gambrell, Jones, McMaster, Callcott, Currell, Swearingen and the Williams-Brice Building.

According to, 802.11ac is “faster and more scalable” than previous standards and has "more available bandwidth for a higher number of parallel video streams.” Take notes, Netflix and HBO GO fans. Also, an investment has been made by the university to upgrade Wi-Fi in eight residence halls — West Quad, Capstone, Columbia Hall, South Tower, South Quad, East Quad, Honors and possibly the Roost — to the latest technologies and is expected to be completed by summer of next year.

There is also a policy change underway in terms of the Wi-Fi networks used on campus, specifically in residence halls. Currently, the options are either USC Student or USC Guest, whose names are self-explanatory as to which group of people is meant to use them. UTS will soon introduce a new wireless network called EntertaiNET, which is meant to take the place of USC Guest in residence halls.

According to Helen Epting, UTS director of public relations, this is primarily to keep students off USC Guest and secondarily a security measure. “The intention is for USC Guest to be used as just that: a guest network for people visiting our campus,” Epting said.

In terms of security, EntertaiNET is ideal for on-campus residents with gaming or streaming devices, which generally are incapable of connecting to a secure, encrypted network like USC Student. Thus, USC Guest will no longer be the back-up plan for those types of devices. To connect to USC Guest, users will be emailed or texted a one-time password and be on the Wi-Fi for up to eight hours.

Hannah Sutton, a third-year secondary education major and on-campus resident, is very positive about the coming changes in Wi-Fi. 

"With technology advancing so quickly, Wi-Fi is necessary for our classes, jobs and other activities. Not having a reliable network was a real concern of [mine] when deciding whether or not to live in my sorority house," Sutton said. "I believe that the USC community will overall be pleased with the Wi-Fi upgrades."

Even before the infamous, Wi-Fi-disapproving picture made its rounds, USC Wi-Fi was always a common complaint on the anonymous social media app, Yik-Yak — a platform where students feel safe to confess their most unpopular opinions.

Whether student complaints about Wi-Fi will be hushed with these improvements is uncertain, but the university is working a little further toward that possibility by rolling out such a huge technological undertaking.