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Students happy with new cable, wireless

Eva Binda | Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Many Notre Dame students welcomed the technological improvements they found in their dorms at the beginning of the semester – and a month later, that sentiment is still strong.

Included in a variety of other changes to campus technology over the summer was the completion of Comcast cable and wireless Internet installation in all 27 dorms. Currently, about 60 different channels are available in the standard channel line-up, the cost of which is included in room and board charges. Channels range in variety from Fox News Channel to VH1 to Telemundo, and students can order expanded channel packages through Comcast.

Satellites are now officially banned on campus.

Although most appreciate the added amenities, some students questioned their quality.

“The wireless is not bad. It’s just sporadic, at least in Pangborn,” freshman Emily Harig said. “The cable is good though.”

Steven Ellis, director of Integrated Communication Services for the Office of Information Technology, said the complaints have been few.

“There haven’t been any more complaints than expected under these conditions. Cable TV has been very good,” Ellis said. “As far as the wireless, it is just a matter of people getting used to sharing it. Unlike at home […], more people are accessing it in the dorms and the use is different.”

Ellis recommends students use a wired connection for downloading large files so as to not slow down the wireless connection for other people in the dorm.

Zahm rector Father Dan Parrish mentioned the same problems within the men’s dorm.

“The only wireless complaint is some people are using high band width and it slows [the wireless] down,” Parrish said. “We’ve been telling people to plug it into the wall and things have been getting better.”

Now that students can obsessively check Facebook and watch “Laguna Beach” without leaving their dorms, it remains to be seen if this will affect study habits.

“I generally find I can multitask so I can watch TV while I’m doing my homework,” freshman Patrick Bears said. “It doesn’t really affect me.”

Personal habits aside, cable and wireless in the dorms has had an effect on the socialization of students within the dorms – both positive and negative.

“Last year, when we didn’t have cable, people would go to the section lounges and watch popular shows together,” Welsh Family sophomore Clarissa Negrete said. “Now there isn’t anyone in there. People stay in their rooms.”

Parrish offered a different perspective. He said he noted an “increase in use of the lounge.” Amenities in the common areas such as ping pong, pool tables and pizza also attract students.

In addition, dorms host activities to bring students into the lounges. Cavanaugh Hall recently hosted a movie night with Zahm and Knott Halls in its basement lounge after the Michigan game Saturday.