U.S. News and World Report’s guide, “America’s Best Colleges,” recently ranked UCSB as the #13 public university in the nation. I believe UCSB did not make it into the top 10 because the university maintains antiquated infrastructure and information technology. UCSB is the only campus in the entire University of California system not to have extensive wireless network availability throughout campus. According to the UCSB Information Technology website:, “UCSB Wireless is quickly becoming more pervasive on campus. Access is available on campus in the University Center, Campbell Hall, Davidson Library and the Student Affairs building for students who have wireless devices.” However, the website fails to mention that not only is Wi-Fi limited only to the first four floors of Davidson library, but also that bandwidth is severely limited during high-traffic times such as finals week.
What makes all of this even more embarrassing is that UCSB was one of the four original nodes of the ARPANET, which is considered the precursor to the Internet as we know it today. The key services the first four sites provided were UCLA’s Network Measurement Center, Stanford Research Institutes’ Network Information Center, UCSB’s Culler-Fried interactive mathematics and Utah’s Graphics. The benefits of an increased range of wireless capability are obvious. During lecture, students would be able to immediately research dubious lecture material or extend their knowledge of ideas presented in lecture. Moreover, a student could access course materials and check U-Mail for e-mails from professors. It escapes me how, as the leader of Internet technology at its inception, UCSB has not allowed its technology and infrastructure to parallel its other growths as a top research university, including five Nobel prizes, increased recognition by various college ranking guides and an exponentially growing demand for admission