The Downside of Wi-Fi

By Breanna Shiflett

It’s an inevitable fact that within the first few days of school, you will hear at least one person asking if anyone has cracked the school’s Wi-Fi password yet. Within a few weeks, it’s likely that someone was able to figure it out, and the code will be spread throughout the student body. The debate over the student use of Wi-Fi has been raging for months, and while many know they aren’t supposed to use the network, they may not understand why.

While it isn’t a horrible offense, the unauthorized use of Wi-Fi does negatively affect the school in some ways. When thousands of students use the network at the same time, the loading speeds of websites and videos often decrease. This causes problems for kids who are attempting to learn in a computer lab or the library, as too much traffic on the network generally causes videos to buffer and webpages to stop loading.

Although there are some students who use the Wi-Fi for educational purposes, such as to look up a word or do research, more often than not the network is used for entertainment, and many kids use it to simply send a tweet or like a status.

The school has talked about creating a network that would be available just to students in order to clear up bandwidth, which allows electronic communications to be transmitted, and give them some digital freedom, but this would take a lot of money, as bandwidth can be very expensive. Even if this was to happen, many sites that students like to visit would still be blocked.

Many students believe that they should be allowed to use the network regardless of whether it’s for entertainment or education, but don’t understand the consequences of letting the entire student body and staff, on top of the laptops in the school, have the password all at once. It’s important to understand that these rules are set to benefit our learning experience. While it’s nice to have the Wi-Fi in order to take a break sometimes, you can find a signal for your 3G if you try hard enough.