IS working to improve Internet connection

by Kate Wall

After listening to students’ concerns, Information Services is searching for ways to make the Internet connections on campus run faster and smoother.

The Student Government Association formed a technology committee that met with Kelley Bradder, the vice president of information services and chief information officer, Director of Information Services Allan Appenzeller and Computer System Administrator Paul Crittenden on Feb. 10.

Junior Erin Disney said the Information Services employees met with them to discuss student complaints about the Internet connection.

“We are going to try to meet with them twice a semester,” Disney said. “They were really responsive. Education is key – last time they did an emergency fix people were upset. We want to create understanding.”

Information Services installed two new hard-disk controllers, one Jan. 18 and the other Feb. 18, making Internet and e-mail services unavailable for a few hours.

“The reason we had to do it again is because one of the controllers came dead on arrival [on Jan.18],” Crittenden said. “Therefore, we had one known good controller and one that was questionable. It took a while for [Hewlett Packard’s] service to get in two controllers that were good.”

According to Appenzeller, Information Services is investigating the possibility of adding an additional T1 line to make the connection from Simpson’s Internet provider, NetINS, to campus faster. Currently the college has three T1 lines.

“The budgetary impact of the additional T1 line would be $12,000 a year plus another $4,000 the first year for hardware and installation,” Appenzeller said. “We are currently spending $36,000 a year for the T1 lines.”

Information Services is also working on providing anti-virus for all students’ computers next year.

“We would have to buy licenses for each student computer on campus,” PC and Network Technician Kurt Gocken said. “There is an estimated 900 student computers on campus.”

Because of some students’ complaints about having difficulty getting SmartEnforcer to run, Information Services is planning to upgrade it this summer, which should help.

“If we try to upgrade it during the school year, it would disrupt more people,” Appenzeller said.

Among the changes that could be made, Information Services is also researching the possibility of making the Carver Atrium, the first floor of Dunn Library, Dirlam Lounge and Brenton Student Center capable of wireless access.

However, Appenzeller said there could “dead spots” – areas where the wireless signal isn’t available because of the construction of some of the buildings.

“Our vision wouldn’t be to be completely wireless,” Appenzeller. “Wireless is often a little slower and it only benefits laptops. We still need more research and many questions answered.”

For freshman Megan Lucas, these changes could prevent future frustrations with the Internet.

“It’s irritating when you need to get something done and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Lucas said.