The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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February 26, 2024

Network changes cause problems with Wi-Fi connection

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Ava Ohana
In the days following Ward’s announcement, some students with personal computers have struggled to access consistent Wi-Fi, and others’ phones have been unable to reliably connect.

On Nov. 27, Whitman IT Systems Specialist Helen Ward sent an email to all staff members informing them that MCPS officials had disconnected the chrome network and replaced it with a more secure network only accessible to chromebooks. 

In the days following this announcement, some students with personal computers have struggled to access consistent Wi-Fi, and others’ phones have been unable to reliably connect.

Officials decided to disconnect the chrome network because students had discovered the chrome Wi-Fi password and were using that network as their primary Wi-Fi source, Ward said. The overuse of the chrome Wi-Fi for non-school provided devices was overloading the network, forcing MCPS officials to shut it down altogether, she said. 

While MCPS’ guest network worked for most students on Nov. 27 and 28, on Nov. 29, a significant number of students were unable to connect to it on their personal devices. The change affected junior Ava Maldonado during her morning periods when her computer stopped connecting to the guest network. She is frustrated that she now has to catch up on the assignments she missed this morning while her computer was out of commission, she said.

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“Since the Wi-Fi wasn’t working this morning for my personal computer, I now have to hustle [to complete] three assignments that are due before the end of the school day, hoping that the Wi-Fi will continue to work,” Maldonado said.

Chuck McGee, Director of the MCPS Department of Infrastructure and Operations, was unaware that Whitman was experiencing connectivity issues on the guest network until The Black & White reached out. 

“We have made no changes that would impact your ability to connect to the network,” McGee said. “I have followed up with your principal(s) and ITSS (Ms. Ward) to help my team understand what the issues may be.”

Students have also raised concerns regarding their ability to contact their peers, parents or employers throughout the school day. Sophomore Grace LaDuca worries that if she doesn’t have reliable Wi-Fi access, she will be unable to contact her parents in case of an emergency.

“It’s a safety concern for sure,” LaDuca said. “I can’t contact my parents in case of an emergency, in case I need to get home, in case I’m not feeling well, I can’t text them because I don’t have Wi-Fi.”

As this change continues to affect students across the building, Ward encourages the use of the school provided chromebooks, because the network they access remains functional.

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About the Contributors
Rebecca Waldman, Opinion Writer
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? I wanted to report on the issues that impact our community and write stories that make a difference. What is your favorite board game? Clue
Ava Ohana, Photographer
Grade 12 Why did you join The B&W? To share my love of photography with others :) If you were a candle, what scent would you be? Vanilla lime

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