District 203 phases out old WiFi networks

Cameron Rozek , News Editor & Online Editor

The District 203 Information Technology (IT) Department has laid rest to the student and teacher personal device networks for the current school year in favor of newer and more secure ones. 

When WiFi became commonplace and a regular part of school operations, Naperville 203 schools implemented WiFi networks. All school-owned devices operate on a private network. 

Teachers, students and guests have previously had to use Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) networks for personal devices. Three networks were allocated for BYOD called, “BYOD-Student,” “BYOD-Teacher,” and “Guest.”

As the WiFi technology advances within the school district, older networks and unnecessary ones serve very little use. This was the case for the three BYOD networks. 

“As you have too many network names, you have too much confusion, too much overlap,” said Joe Jaruseski, Director of IT infrastructure for Naperville 203. ”You start to lose efficiency because too many networks want to connect to your device.” 

After all District 203 students were issued devices, the BYOD networks served no purpose. Because of this, students are no longer allowed to bring their own devices.

“Because our wireless environment is becoming more and more critical to how we educate students and how we communicate, we can’t take the chance of a non-managed device connecting to our network, and not knowing if that device has anti malware on it,” Jaruseski said. 

A new network called “SD203-guest” was pushed out to fill the void left when the older networks were eliminated in July, at the beginning of the District 203 fiscal year. This network has filters that align directly with the ones in place on the network “SD203” used for school issued devices.

In the past students have used the BYOD networks in school for their phones. With the removal of these networks, students can still connect to “SD203-guest,” but with increased web filtering in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection and Children’s Online Privacy Protection acts.

For some students, the loss of a reliable network to use on personal devices is detrimental. 

“[Naperville Central ]is a big cement brick building and data is not very fast.” Sophomore Ryan Madson said. “I know some kids have to pay for the data, and if they’re watching videos or downloading stuff, it’s gonna take a lot of their data that costs money.” 

The upgrade process is a long one for the District 203 WiFi environment, and students can expect new changes through the coming years. 

“I wouldn’t expect [the WiFi environment] to look anything like it does today next year or the following year,” Jaruseski said.