Is there a way to avoid my building’s “internet rush hour”?

Alexa March 14, 2010
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I live in New York City in a student residence. The building is also home to, among other things, a preschool, a health center, and a performance space. The internet is provided through an unsecured wireless network, and every day from around 6-11pm, so many people use it that it becomes incredibly slow.

Normally I wouldn’t complain, but during these hours the internet can get so slow that it is basically useless. Gmail will log me out of gchat every few minutes without warning, and even the shortest youtube video takes minutes to download.

The stupid administration isn’t going to listen to me and password protect their network, so I was wondering if anyone here has any ideas on how to solve this problem? I’m not sure a solution exists, but it couldn’t hurt to ask…right?

Here’s some other relevant information:
-I have an HP Pavilion laptop, and I use Windows Vista
-There is no ethernet connection in my room.

Thanks!

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  1. Taty
    March 15, 2010 at 6:09 am

    And if you follow Jack's suggestion they might decide that since someone managed to password protect their connection that maybe that would be enough of a security risk that they should protect it themselves. I agree with Jack, unless they have a separate connection for the pre-school and health center and a public network open to the public, their admin person really needs to get his act together.

  2. Jack Cola
    March 15, 2010 at 3:49 am

    As Taty and Steve suggest you can protest or pay for your own internet connection or wireless service.

    Is it slow for just you, or have other people says it has been slow. Maybe the network administrator may shape your MAC address during that time.

    Since your residence has a preschool and a health center which probably contains highly sensitive information, if they are using a unsecured network, the admin guy should be sacked as he is not following basic organization code of ethics in terms of doing everything they can to protect and secure there network.

    If I were in your position, I would find out what router you are using, look it up on portforward.com use the default password to login (80% chance he wouldnt change it if they network is unsecured), log in to the router and put a security key on.

    Just for you to be award, if you log in to a site using http: and not https: your username and passwords can be viewed.

    Do you have any other wireless access points available that have the same signal strength?

  3. Steve Campbell
    March 15, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Alexa,

    Are you paying anything to use that Internet connection or is it complimentary to all residents?

    I'm asking because Internet is relatively cheap nowadays and you could probably just pay for your own cable connection instead and plug directly into the modem. Even if you got a slow connection for cheap I'm sure it would still be faster than what you're currently putting up with.

  4. Taty
    March 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Alexa
    Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there is an easy solution for your problem. If the internet is shared and you have no control over it, it would be hard to suggest something that could make a difference from your end except for, getting your own connection. Check with other residents. If enough of you have a similar complaint and are willing to do a petition or mobilize in some sort, you have a much better chance of their doing something about it. If they mean to provide free internet to non residents or even if they password protect it but there are a lot of people logged at once, it would not make a difference. Suggesting a second line would be the best solution.
    Sorry I couldn't find a more specific solution.