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OIT ‘working through resolving’ campus printing problem

Problem only affects web upload printing process, one of three that OIT offers

The Office of Information Technology is working to resolve a recent “bug” in the campus printing system, according to OIT staff. The issue only affects the printing process that requires uploading documents to the myprint.brown.edu website, causing uploads — particularly those including multiple documents — to frequently fail.

Hope Xu ’26 said the process was often “glitching” and Isabella Clarke ’26 said that on at least one occasion it has taken her multiple tries to upload documents. 

The MyPrint team “is working through resolving (the issue) with their print software vendor,” Don Rogers, assistant chief information officer of IT support and customer experience, told The Herald. “We do expect some improvement with that as soon as they get that result.”

“It's (a) priority fix,” Rogers added. “We know a lot of people rely on this, so we're working as hard and as fast as we can … at the speed the vendor can support.” 

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According to Rogers, the printing team had not received reports of failures and only tested for the problem after being contacted by The Herald in mid-November. The office is “investigating internally” if the printing team was not notified about recurring problems with the system — as individual reports are resolved by the IT Helpdesk — or if no students reported the problem. 

The problem, Rogers noted, is limited to the “web upload” way of printing. Although that is the most popular form of printing among students, it is one of three ways to print and the “worst experience” of the three. 

“Yes, it's convenient, but there's a better way,” Rogers said, referring to the “mobility print” feature launched fall 2021. Instead of uploading a document to a webpage, students can now add the “MyPrint” printer to their personal computers and print directly from their devices.

Students can also print by sending their documents to an email address — MyPrint-BW@brown.edu or MyPrint-Color@brown.edu — from their Brown email accounts. 

Both options are “more reliable,” Rogers said. The email address option, in particular, does not require devices to be connected to Brown WiFi — which students who spoke to The Herald said had been an issue throughout the semester.

According to Rogers, there has been a sharp increase in the number of devices using Brown WiFi networks: from 15,000 daily two years ago to almost 23,000 this semester.

“It challenges, sometimes, the laws of physics,” Rogers said. “If you have many hundreds of devices in one single room, there’s only so many radio waves to go around, and the technology really struggles to keep up.”

In particular, large classrooms such as Barus and Holley 164 and 166, as well as Salomon 101, experienced issues this fall. “The hardware was simply being saturated in those areas, so we actually spent a lot of focus time in those locations,” Rogers said. 

According to Rogers, OIT doubled the number of access points for WiFi in those areas and upgraded access points to WiFi 6, the “next generation” of WiFi technology. Although only compatible with the newest phones, tablets and computers, the upgrades freed up bandwidth for other devices on the current WiFi.

“We're sort of optimistic that over time — not fast enough, but over time — as more people's devices have been replaced, more WiFi 6 will be in the room and that will improve things for everybody,” Rogers said. 

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Besides beginning efforts to upgrade WiFi to WiFi 6 across campus, Rogers said the OIT is looking to add more access points in outdoor locations, as well as “engineer better connectivity” for big campus events such as Commencement Weekend.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that both email printing and mobility print do not require wifi. The Herald regrets the error.

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Haley Sandlow

Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying English and French.



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