Residence Hall Network--- Continual Improvement
Over the past year, OIT has spent a significant amount of time reviewing the Residence Hall Network environment to provide better internet service on both the wired and wireless networks. Several problems were uncovered that were impacting the speed of the network for the students and residents. These resulted in a number of changes to the overall architecture of the network. A number of devices were removed and newer technology implemented to provide better security as well as increase bandwidth.
On October 19, a significant change was made to support a larger amount of data flowing between the networking and security equipment. This change should alleviate some of the issues students were reporting with streaming videos, Skype and other high bandwidth activities. Although our investigation centered around the Residence Hall Connections, this change affected all traffic across campus. We are continuing to implement various monitoring tools to help us identify problems with coverage or bandwidth.
Shortly following the change on October 19, we sent a quick survey to the residence halls to gauge improvements. Unfortunately, the results indicate that many students are still having difficulty. We have identified two other devices that will be upgraded over the next few weeks which should provide incremental improvements. The first of these important upgrades is scheduled for this Sunday (November 11). In addition, we've engaged an outside vendor to do a complete assessment of the network architecture to help us identify possible improvements. We will continue to evaluate the network architecture until the issues are resolved.
Additionally, several of the students in the survey indicated problems that could be related to device configuration. As the devices are updated, settings are often modified which can cause issues with the connection or the stability of a connection. To help alleviate these configuration issues, we will be hosting two mobile help desk events. Staff will be stationed in the two main quads and available to quickly look at any devices that aren't connecting consistently. A network technician will also be on hand to verify coverage in all areas of the building. Staff will be in the Virginia Snider lobby on Tuesday November 13 from 11:00am-4:00pm. They will be in the McElvaney lobby on November 14 from 11:00am-3:00pm. Please come by and bring your devices or discuss your network issues with us.
Inside.SMU Pilot for Students
OIT has recently negotiated licensing for students to access Inside.SMU. In order to determine the best configuration and architecture for student use of this service, a pilot program will begin this month with select student groups. We will begin the pilot phase by offering team sites to graduate student programs for study groups and team projects. Based on their usage and feedback, we will develop a model to be offered to all students by the beginning of the summer term. OIT is working directly with several graduate program offices. However, if you are interested in a student team site for graduate academic use, please email email@example.com.
Email Encryption Pilot
OIT is launching an email encryption pilot this month. The service leverages our existing Ironport security appliance and will allow designated employees to encrypt outbound email messages containing sensitive data. Recipients of that data will be prompted to create an account to retrieve the contents of the message. If you are interested in participating in this pilot program, please contact the IT Help Desk. More details about this service will be provided following the pilot phase.