Network Task Force Completes Its Work

Growing out of the recommendations that emerged from the Fall 2011 survey of IT services at the College, in February of last year an ad hoc advisory committee of students, faculty, and staff was formed to help the Office of Information Technology (OIT) plan long-term improvements in internet speed and coverage, reliable wireless access across campus, and other needed improvements to the College’s network services.

The accomplishments of the Task Force include:

  • A community survey of network-related needs on campus administered in Spring 2012.
  • Assistance to OIT in migrating to a new internet service provider, Network Maryland, that led to considerably faster internet service on campus (a five-fold increase in internet bandwidth) beginning in Fall 2012.
  • Formation of a policy, subsequently adopted by OIT, of encouraging student use of home wireless routers as a low-cost, interim strategy for providing wireless internet access in residence halls until a more comprehensive institutional solution can be devised in the future.
  • Consultation with OIT in devising a five-year IT Master Plan that calls for: (a) replacing the obsolete switches and routers that comprise the College’s core network with new equipment that meets emerging network requirements, including the use of new technologies not supported by the current core network (e.g., VOIP telephony, network videoconferencing); and for (b) extending the College’s wireless network to include all administrative buildings (only some are covered presently) and all on-campus residences (none are covered presently).  This would replace the current use of home wireless routers in on-campus residences.
  • Assisting OIT and Data Network consultants in developing detailed technical plans and spending estimates for the core network equipment replacements ($445,000 in estimated costs) and wireless internet access enhancements ($295,000 in estimated costs) specified in the IT Master Plan.  OIT will be pursuing options to secure funding for these projects in the next 2-3 years.

I wish to thank each member of the Network Task Force for their hard work and wise counsel in the past year:

  • Bob Brown, Assistant Director of OIT Network Services
  • Kyriakos Filipakis (Student Representative)
  • Mike Harp (Student Representative)
  • Scott Lee (Student Representative, Fall 2013)
  • Rob Maddox (Staff Representative)
  • Lin Muilenburg (Faculty Representative)
  • Christopher Parish (Student Representative)
  • Shelby Perkins (Student Representative, Spring 2013)
  • Jeff Ranta, OIT Sr. Network Security Administrator
  • Kat Ryner (Faculty Representative)
  • Nancy Scheffler (HSMC Staff Representative)
  • Nick Tulley (Staff Representative)

 

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