The lack of wireless Internet and the speed of the provided Ethernet is frustrating for the student body living in residence halls. Connection speed is painfully slow, especially when many users are online. It's not uncommon for students to have trouble downloading assignments or notes posted online by teachers. Computer labs have up-to-date software, but computers are not always available. During peak hours at the library, for instance, it is unlikely a computer will be available. The majority of computer labs are not open 24 hours per day. In fact, times are somewhat inconvenient. In Tanner Hall, for example, the lab is only open for five hours on Saturday and doesn't open until noon on weekdays. The technology available at Western helps students, especially with projects that call for special software or technology, but the vast majority of students still rely on their own computers.
While the Mac desktops that are provided in the labs have up-to-date features and an impressive display, they are not available during peak hours. Most computers can run Microsoft Windows or Mac software, but Windows takes significantly longer to load. One great resource is the library’s Web site. It has useful databases and numerous outlets for students who need help utilizing the library’s services. Most printing is free, but for color printing, students most load the graphics onto a flash drive and take it to the publishing department of the library, where it can be printed for a fee. Computers at Western can help the educational experience, but laptops are useful for all students.