Campus technology updates, changes planned for fall semester
By Sarah Mansell
When classes begin next fall, Wake Forest students, faculty and staff will have access to a new campus computing network that will allow wireless computing in nearly all areas of the Reynolda Campus.
The new computing network, called the Next Generation Network (NGN), is supported by Cisco Systems and will be a primarily wireless network. Information Systems staff started installation of the network this spring, and will continue throughout the summer in residence halls, and administrative and academic buildings. By August, most campus buildings will be equipped with wireless connectivity. Information Systems staff will inform the campus community of wireless availability as each area is completed.
In addition, users will no longer need to log onto separate networks, such as academic or administrative, for computing needs; there will be only one computing network.
The new network will allow for heightened security, provide increased mobility for users and will better equip our staff to target network problems down to a specific building, rather than shutting down the entire campus, said Jay Dominick, assistant vice president for information systems and chief information officer. Dependability of the network for the entire campus community has been the focus throughout this entire process.
Since the formal launch of its technology initiative in fall 1996, Wake Forest has provided high-speed, wired Internet access on campus classrooms and residence halls included. The university first tested wireless connectivity in various areas on campus in 2000.
The new R51 ThinkPad computers to be distributed in August to first-year students and to juniors will be equipped with wireless networking capability. Sophomores using R40 ThinkPad computers received wireless cards during the R40 repair this spring. Plans are underway to address wireless connectivity needs of university faculty and staff. Ethernet connections will remain in all faculty and staff offices, at classroom podiums and in residence hall rooms.
Information Systems staff is also installing a campus-wide administrative computing system called Project Link that will be the technology backbone for the admissions, university advancement, financial and accounting services, and human resources departments, among others. The new software system will run on the NGN and will allow every administrative department on campus to work through one integrated computing system.
Previously, various departments depended on separate software to work with often-overlapping record systems. The new computing system will improve efficiency across campus, reduce technology administrative costs and allow for better customer service to students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends of the university. Training and implementation of the new system is anticipated to be complete August 2006.