Looking for high-speed internet on Ryerson campus? Go to the library

(Ryersonian file photo)

(Ryersonian file photo)

If you want fast wireless Internet, go to the library, but stay away from the study cubicles. 

A Ryersonian test of the school’s Wi-Fi speeds found that users can get speeds of over 100 megabits per second in less crowded areas of the library — the fastest on campus.

Megabits are a measure of data transfer speed. Eight megabits is approximately equal to one megabyte of storage. At 100 megabits per second, users can theoretically download a movie in about a minute.

The Ryersonian tested the download speeds in all of the school’s common areas. The tests were conducted on three consecutive afternoons last week using the free speed-testing app, Ookla.

The study cubicles of the library, which house a dense collection of students, enjoy a download speed of about 60 megabits per second.

That speed, together with the Wi-Fi speeds registered at the Ted Rogers School of Management building, make up the university’s highest wireless Internet speeds.

The TRSM wireless speed is about 30 to 40 megabits per second. A person can roughly download a song in two seconds with that rate. 

Both the library building and TRSM recently upgraded its access points into the latest models. They can handle 100 simultaneous connections and theoretically grant speeds of nearly one gigabit — or 1,000 megabits — per second. 

Most other buildings, however, boast speeds of about 10 to 20 megabits per second, depending on the number of simultaneous connections.

The first floor of Victoria Building has the worst Wi-Fi — just under five megabits per second.

But student senator-at-large Joshua D’Cruz said that while there are certainly areas with “horrendous” connections, Ryerson’s Wi-Fi beats that of many other schools.

He added that the school’s limited budget may mean it can only deal first with areas with high human traffic — the library and TRSM.

“They need to focus on where there are the most valid complaints,” D’Cruz said.

Ryerson’s director of computing and communications services, Brian Lesser, overseas the upgrading of the school’s Wi-Fi — a continuous project that gets about $250,000 per year from the school.

Lesser said the access points at TRSM can only grant speeds of nearly one gigabit — or 1,000 megabits — under optimum conditions, for instance, if a user is the only person in the building.

But he said that speeds will be invariably slower during periods of the day when many students occupy the TRS building.

“Mileage will vary,” Lesser said. “What worked for you at one point in the day might not be the same as someone else who’s down the hall … in a more crowded area.”

But Lesser added that the goal of the upgrade is not to improve download speeds — current speeds are enough for school work — but to provide better coverage and allow for more simultaneous connections from multiple devices.

“We got caught by the influx of smartphones, on top of the laptops that we provisioned for, so we’re still trying to play catch-up with that,” he said.

But if you really want the fastest download speed, Lesser said, try a wired connection, such as those of the school’s computers.

Computers in the library can get download speeds of up to 900 megabits per second — nearly the theoretical maximum a Wi-Fi connection can get.

But many students said they do not need such high speeds. First-year business technology student Ashish Charma said present speeds at TRSM are sufficient for his needs — streaming music and basic Internet browsing.

Charma, who goes to TRSM about three times per week, added that while he now download things faster, he has noticed no significant difference between present speeds and those before the upgrade.

“It’s just more satisfaction, having faster Internet,” he said.

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