Slow e-mail frustrates students

The Internet, which has made some things easier at NKU, causes frustration when it’s slow, or doesn’t work at all.

Administrators are currently working to speed up NKU’s WebMail system, which has been slowed by a growth in spam, but, for many students, e-mail difficulties are an inconvenience they are not used to.

“People don’t expect their e-mail to cause them trouble,” Nicole McClure, a senior political science major, said. “We expect it to work every time.”

Students at Northern depend on their e-mail to be reliable, especially when it is related to one of their classes.

Hannah Pennybaker, a freshman English major, said that although she has never had a problem with her account (except for the fact that it is slow on occasion) she feels sorry for those who rely on their e-mail to keep them connected with their professors.

“I’ve heard horror stories from other people trying to check their [e-mails],” Pennybaker said.

Sally Cox, a junior Education major, has one or two horror stories of her own.

“Professors say they never receive my e-mails,” she said.

Venting her frustrations towards Northern’s e-mail system, Cox said, “It’s slow and stupid.”

Angela Williams, a junior Education major, agreed with Cox, saying, “Sometimes it works great, and sometimes it doesn’t. You just can’t depend on it.”

Thomas Steuver, manager and coordinator of Network and Infrastructure Systems/Security in Information Technology, said, “WebMail has had a growing problem regarding response times and failed logins.”

“Because of a massive growth in e-mail due to spam, our system has not been able to keep up with the growing demand of e-mail traffic,” Steuver said.

The system currently has 26,433 accounts, including “22,464 students, including those from last year, 1,728 faculty, 1,696 staff, 319 group, 31 student groups and 180 retired faculty and staff,” Steuver said.

Steuver added that even if many of the accounts are not used on a daily basis, they receive at least one message during the day.

Along with the maintaining the accounts, NKU’s system is processing incoming and outgoing e-mail, and scanning for viruses, Steuver said.

To solve the issue, “We are separating many of these processes into separate systems to reduce the load on one system,” Steuver said

On March 31, Steuver and his team executed a Virus Scanning Gateway Server, which, according to Steuver, should reduce the load the e-mail server is currently carrying.

“We are working on additional solutions, including spam checking, but I don’t have many details about them at this time,” he said.