When it comes to wireless communication, it can sometimes feel as though the U of W is the Bermuda Triangle of lost signals and faulty connections.
For phone signals, this makes sense, to a certain extent. I can accept that decades before cell phones were the norm, some forward-thinking architects designed the main campus buildings to be veritable strongholds against wireless activity. That’s not surprising. Internet access is slightly more puzzling, since I have been led to believe that the building was actually been outfitted (more or less) for internet access.
Over the past few years, I have spent an awful lot of time running from floor to floor of the university trying to find a place where I can access the web for long enough to send an email, and have lost more than one cell phone conversation mid-sentence, at times to disastrous effect.
My experience is widely on the Main Campus, though my jaunts to the Richardson Building have led me to believe all the state-of-the-art technology still can’t help me get a phone signal.
While I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to get a signal ANYWHERE on campus, I have, with much deliberation, mapped out some of the best and worst places to try:
1) The Bulman Centre: Possibilities of phone and internet access: about 28 feet below-grade
Unsurprisingly, journeying below the surface of the earth tends to disrupt your phone signals. Alright, the Bulman Centre isn’t SO bad for internet access. There has been the odd time when I’ve been able to get it on the third try or so. But good luck using your phone down there. I usually can’t even get texts.
2) Riddell Hall: Possibilities of phone and internet access: low to medium
If you’re receiving an important call of any kind, get out of the cafeteria. I’m pretty sure that place is designed to disrupt all sorts of signals and radio frequencies.
3) The Buffeteria: Possibilities of access: medium to high
For some inexplicable reason, being four floors above ground seems to make it an awful lot easier to access internet and phone signals. At times even the Buffeteria fails me, though, at which point I grit my teeth and proceed to…
4) The AnX: Possibilities of access: high
Apparently the old bus terminal was not made out of the same signal-disrupting materials the Main Campus is composed of. I haven’t tested the AnX out nearly as extensively as any other campus area (it only opened a month ago, to be fair), but it hasn’t failed me yet. Unless of course you consider having to buy a $4 coffee or a $5 beer just to gain internet access a failure.