Campus-wide network outage affects student connectivity, resolved three hours later

Network outage leaves students unable to connect to Wi-Fi, attend class and submit Brightspace assignments and assessments.

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Josh Rehders

Student experiences connectivity issues when attempting to join a class over Zoom. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

Riya Chinni

Vanderbilt students experienced a campus-wide VUNet outage today, beginning at around 12:30 p.m CDT. Many students were unable to join Zoom meetings for classes or complete Brightspace assignments and assessments. 

Vanderbilt’s IT (VUIT) department confirmed in a chat at approximately 12:45 p.m. CDT that students are experiencing a campus-wide networking outage. 

The VUIT representative stated that the outage is affecting the multi-factor authentication system (MFA) required for login to any Vanderbilt system, including Brightspace or Vanderbilt Zoom calls. 

The representative did not have an estimated time frame for when the outage would be resolved but said they will update students when possible. However, a different representative responded to a new chat at approximately 3:30 p.m. CDT, stating that the system was back online.

First-year Valerie Tung was halfway through her first Developmental Psychology assessment when her Brightspace stopped working. Tung said her answers would not auto-save on the website and that she had to save her open-ended responses on a separate Word document. She submitted her assessment with less than a minute of her allotted time remaining due to the Wi-Fi issues. 

“This experience was just really stressful because I thought I wouldn’t even be able to submit my midterm for this class because of the Wi-Fi problems,” Tung said.

Additionally, Vanderbilt’s largest class of the semester, U.S. Elections, faced difficulties with Zoom connectivity for both students and their guest speaker, Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

First-year Kayla Furney said she was able to connect to the class’ Zoom meeting using her phone’s hotspot, however, she said many other students were unable to join the class. 

“Our guest speaker had major issues with logging in, and we wasted about 20 to 30 minutes of class time overall just waiting for our speaker to join the Zoom and to deal with connectivity issues,” Furney said. 

Furney said that even once Rove finally connected to the Zoom through his phone, it was still difficult to maintain a productive classroom environment following all of these issues. Due to these technical issues, she said the class had to push back a deadline for an assignment that was originally due at 7 p.m. tonight. 

On Sept. 16, Vanderbilt also experienced connectivity issues due to a failure of Single Sign-On (SSO) logins.

“It looks like Vandy forgot to pay their Wi-Fi bill,” Furney said.