Technology withstands student growth

Information System Services and Resnet officials say the addition of 450 more freshmen than last year has not overburdened technology services at GW so far.

Technology services have been preparing for increased enrollment, said Jeff Baxter, community coordinator for Information System Services.

“We are always upgrading our systems because enrollment is always growing,” he said. “We try to make everything a little faster and a little bigger.”

About one year ago ISS changed GW’s server from GWIS2 to GWMail because the old system was unable to handle any more users, Baxter said. GWMail is a program that “scales” well, meaning extra memory can be added as it is needed, Baxter said.

Central systems that control GWeb and GWired were not changed this year because they were already prepared for any number of students, Baxter said.

Baxter said programs such as GWeb have been slow because many students usually use these programs at the same time.

ISS has been trying to decrease the wait by upgrading the program, adding memory and making it faster, Baxter said. The GWeb program has a lot of “complicated codes,” so programmers have examined the codes to make the system more efficient, Baxter said.

“The biggest tech changes are getting wiring in new buildings,” Baxter said. “We’re trying to bring the wiring up to GW standards as we expand.”

ISS assesses and wires new buildings bought by the University, and Resnet wires the buildings for computer access, Baxter said.

The recently acquired City Hall is currently not connected with ethernet connection, but students are able to connect to the internet through dial-up service which they pay for themselves, said Alexa Kim, director of technology communication.

Kim said because the University moved into City Hall Aug. 1 there was not enough time to assess the building, order equipment and install it before students arrived. The equipment has been ordered and will be installed by November, although no specific date has been set, Kim said.
Sophomore Jocelyn Pleasant, a City Hall resident, said she is unhappy with the situation.

“I think if GW is going to buy out buildings they should think about these things before they just plop a bunch of people into a hotel,” she said. “They should think about the fact that there are college kids in there, and they’re going to need access to the internet.”

Sophomore Daryl Muller said he understands the University’s position.

“The fact that they are putting the initiative in so quickly to turn (City Hall) around from a hotel into a residence hall shows that the University is doing what they can considering this situation,” he said.

Resnet has also been doing its annual job of connecting students in wired residence halls to the internet. Kim said Resnet has made no changes this year specifically because of increased enrollment and increases connections every year.

Last year Resnet added 600 connections, Kim said. Once City Hall is wired, Resnet will have added 1,000 connections this year, totaling 5,000 connections on campus.

Resnet also provided students with a CD-ROM to guide students through installation.

Students said they are pleased with Resnet’s services this year.

“Resnet has been on time,” freshman Robert Goldberg said. “They said it would take three to five business days for my registration to go through and it only took two.”

Computer labs are also affected by increased enrollment and lack of internet connections in City Hall. Three computer labs were upgraded and renovated this year, said David Cain, computer labs manager.
The computer lab in Rome Hall B104 expanded from 48 computers to 58 computers, Cain said. Computers in Rome Hall 205 and 306 were upgraded, but no computers were added to the labs, Cain said.

Philips Hall 411 is in the process of being converted into a computer lab, but the room still needs to be cleared, and Cain said he is unsure when this will happen. The addition of a computer lab in room 411 a direct result from additional students, Cain said.

“I’ve noticed an increase in usage (of the computer labs),” Cain said. “Lines have been forming already. Usually we don’t see lineups until later in the year when people have midterms.”

-Patrick W. Higgins contributed to this report.

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