Science departments solve wifi issues
April 5, 2013
Kimarri Campbell / The Courier
“Down.” It’s a familiar word to students and staff when attempting to access an Internet connection on campus through the wireless network. While the information systems department implemented a more advanced system over the summer that moves data faster and connects more people, glitches still occur from growing usage and a variety of connectivity reasons.
No black out is intentional, according to chief information officer Daryl Carr.
Other wireless options exist. Students utilizing the Haldeman-Theissen (HT) building can access a separate network located solely in that building that has several wireless access points like Biology I and Physics.
“The wireless access points are open and anyone in HT can use them,” said Christopher Fasano, physics department chair. “They provide the same kind of access that you would get at an access point at a coffee shop or other common location.”
The sciences created their own network over a decade ago primarily for the Linux, Macintosh and Unix machines not supported by the college’s infrastructure. It now offers another benefit. As the network operates separate from the main campus, students can access internet when McUsers drops connection temporarily.
The network has its own IP address, domain name and webserver, with only some portals that connect to the main campus’s network.
“We do have a few portals to campus,” Fasano said, “but the machines on the science network do not support the campus usernames and passwords, and a student could not login to their campus account other than they would from a non-campus computer at their home or elsewhere.”
As for the maintenance, information systems ensure that the packets needed by the department come to and from the network, but otherwise faculty members like Fasano manage the machines themselves.
“This network allows us to use and manage specialized software that we need for both teaching and research in the sciences,” Fasano said. “We manage our own machines.”
While once having its own physical connection to the outside world, the network now travels through the same pipe the rest of campus uses. Fasano believes the sciences’ network has little or no effect on the speed or connection of McUsers.
When asked about any effect the science network has on McUsers, Carr said that information systems plans to keep expanding the infrastructure, including purchasing more bandwidth, but the network currently offered exclusively in the science building is also under scrutiny.
“That’s something we’re working on because it needs to be coordinated better,” Carr said. “It has to do with times are changing, and in order to provide the highest quality services for everybody, many things are being looked at.”