By Phoebe Roe
Stroll down Middle Path and you’re likely to see a student or two wildly waving his or her phone through the air, searching for cell phone service. Kenyon is notorious for its faulty cell phone reception. To address this problem, Kenyon is installing new cell signal-boosting technology in Peirce Hall.
“Cell phone reception around campus, in general, is less than desirable,” Director of Information Technology Services Niranjan Davray wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Due to the location of various cell phone towers in the area, Verizon coverage is perhaps better than AT&T and Sprint. T-Mobile perhaps does not work at all in Gambier.”
To rectify the situation, Kenyon has been working to install cell phone service-boosting technology around campus. The improvements started with a pilot program in Olin Library in the 2013-2014 school year.
“After testing this in the library for a few months in spring 2014, over the past summer, this technology was implemented in Eaton Center, Lewis, Norton, Gund and McBride residences,” Davray wrote. “Students should already have better coverage in those buildings compared to a year ago.”
The basic idea behind the technology is that if a cell phone has four to five bars outside of a building, it should also have four to five bars inside of a building. Keeping this in mind, the technology works to boost reception within a building to the level it is outside of the building. However, if someone has one bar outside of a building, the technology won’t help them have more bars indoors — that’s in the hands of the cell service provider.
The decision to install the technology in Peirce comes as more and more students complain of dropped calls and service issues within the building.
“My contention about the service in Peirce is that it is quite faulty and often times I have trouble contacting people in urgent situations, such as being late for class, determining whether or not there is practice in the afternoon,” Chris Stevens ’17, a Verizon user, said.
Nate Epstein ’16, an AT&T user and a sports fact checker for the Collegian, said, “Of course I have no reception in the servery. I also have almost no reception on Old Side. In the dorms, it’s equally shitty; it might even be more shitty. Old Kenyon, you get no reception, none at all.”
However, some students have never noticed any problems.
“I have good reception,” Furqan Dar ’16, a Verizon user, said. “I’ve never had a problem with reception. Maybe in the basement of Hayes, but that’s the basement of Hayes.”
The 11 different antenna locations in Peirce were installed on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Kenyon can now move forward with plans to expand the technology to the rest of campus. However, according to Davray, this may be more easily said than done.
“There are several things to consider, location of an external antenna, location of internal antennae, etc. to ensure best possible coverage,” Davray wrote. “Each location has its own challenges and the solution requires custom design per location.”
Exactly when the full-campus upgrade will be finished remains unclear. For now, all we can do is hold our phones to the sky and wait.