School officials will decommission the district-wide wireless network PAUSDGEN at some point this winter, according to Chief Technology Officer Derek Moore.
Over the summer, the District refreshed its wireless infrastructure by introducing a new internet platform named “PAUSD,” along with the addition of an authentication feature which requires students to log in with their Infinite Campus accounts and passwords to access.
PAUSD will eventually replace PAUSDGEN as the school-wide wireless network for students and faculty, but both PAUSDGEN and PAUSD will keep providing service until this winter. As part of the new internet system, the District also replaced its unencrypted network StudentWireless with PAUSDGUEST over the summer. Unlike other district wireless networks, PAUSDGUEST utilizes an authentication process which requires the full name and email of anyone who tries to access it.
According to Moore, the District decided to remove PAUSDGEN because of the vulnerability of its one-password feature, which grants unlimited Wi-Fi access to anyone who knows the password.
Moore said the District’s wireless networks are “intended primarily for instructional purposes.” While acknowledging that many students and staff do use the Wi-Fi for entertainment purposes, Moore said he fears that the freedom PAUSDGEN offers has led students to overuse the entertainment aspect of the internet.
Mmany popular video streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon use a large amount of bandwidth, which causes problems in connection speed for those using the wifi for educational purposes. The new PAUSD internet platform will limit internet data usage for every account.
“[The new internet platform will] give us the ability to handle the individual incidences that we have to in an individual way and not necessarily cut or block entire websites for the entire group,” Moore said.
Since the new PAUSD network will limit potential internet misuse, the new network will allow access of all clients within the District, including students, teachers and possibly parents and other organizations affiliated with PAUSD, according to Moore.
Additionally, the new network’s authentication system will prevent users unaffiliated with PAUSD from accessing internal Wi-Fi service, Moore said.
While district officials emphasize the positive impacts of introducing the new PAUSD network, some students see this change as unnecessary.
“PAUSDGEN is working so far, [so] why [is there] the need to change it?” said junior Kiran Majeti. “I don’t see an issue with the way the system works right now.”
In response to student concerns, Moore clarified that the changes are intended to give students quick, safe and reliable internet access.
“We want to ensure that students and staff can get to work as fast as possible,“ Moore said. “It’s about giving the right people the access to right resources.”
Because the new network system demands an authentication process regardless of whether users are affiliated with PAUSD or not, district technicians worry that it would be inconvenient in classes where students share computers and have to login every time they access the internet. Moore said this problem could delay the removal date of PAUSDGEN.
“We estimate that the full system will roll out during winter,” Moore said. “We anticipate [that] we will have to make a decision at some point soon.”