In order to further advance and secure the University’s Internet status, ResNet has implemented a Network Access System to ensure protection.The Network Access System serves as an authentication device that, according to Resnet Central Manager Richard Jackson, also establishes whether students have proper virus and spyware protections. This is the screen that appears when a person connects to the server using an Ethernet cable in the dorms or within a wireless area on campus. It asks for full e-mail address and coinciding password.
Additionally, Jackson said that after the Viginia Tech. massacre, Resnet began its initiatives to install this system that would allow students to be aware of crucial updates for safety via Internet pop-ups through the Network Access System.
“As long as students are connected to the network,” Jackson said, students will receive these notifications.
The screen asking the user to sign in may present a notice which indicates if the person is need of certain spyware and/or virus protection software.
The Network Access System now provides free software that students can download. Jackson said that 10 percent of the student population at WCU does not have adequate virus/spyware protection. This, he said, can “Increase the traffic of viruses” within the network.
Jackson also said that both spy- ware and virus protection are needed on a student’s computer.
In addition to viruses, some of the issues that ResNet detects as detriments to the network could be the computers themselves. However, Jackson said that due to the Network Access System, the staff at ResNet can now know the types of operating systems that students have; which dictates the training of the staff. Although having newer computers can process more data at a faster rate, it is not as considerable a problem as the prevalence of viruses Jackson said.
Another significant contribution to the inefficiency of the network-for example, students not being able to log on-is the presence of routers.
Jackson said that routers are used to enable wireless connections. Instead of connecting the ethernet cable into the wall, a router allows the student to access the Internet without being stationery.
However, Jackson said that if the router was not set up properly, it can severely affect the dynamic of others trying to log on. Others can actually use the wireless connection from one person if within a close vicinity, and those who are using the ethernet connection may have difficulty logging on.
“Wireless routers are a lot slower than connecting into a wall,” Jackson said.
Jackson explained that students may bring their routers to the ResNet and the staff will properly set up the router.
In the future, Jackson said that ResNet intends on having the new residence halls wireless. The date for this, however, is not yet determined.
Jackson said that the Network Access System cannot view the user’s Internet surfing history nor can it scan the types of files on the computer.
“This this is not ‘Big Brother,'” Jackson said.
The system was initiated Sept. 20 and each was completed in each residence hall at a time.
In order to avoid possible problems, Jackson said that students should have updated spyware and virus software. In addition, students should acknowledge the warning that the system provides.
For instance, Jackson said that a “smart failure,” indicates a hardware failure and if a person does not rectify the situation by updating or installing the proper software, they may be unable to reboot his or her computer.
Lastly, Jackson said that ResNet tries to respond to residents’ inquiries as soon as possible and that they are here to help.
ResNet serves 5200 computers per week.
“[Network Access System] is a tool,” Jackson said. “We are here to help in any way we can.”
Nicole Fortuna is a second-year student of the Honors College majoring in English with a minor in linguistics. She can be reached at NF626790@wcupa.edu.