While registering for spring 2005 classes some students experienced the failure of the intranet online registration system. According to Marjorie Wily of administrative computing, the system malfunction was due to hard drive failure.
“The registration problem was a systems issue, not a network issue, so it was not anything we’ve had before,” Wily said. “Basically, the hard drive failed. Unfortunately, it’s not something we can foresee. Sometimes hard drives just get old and quit.”
When networking issues do occur, administrative computing may opt to contract a network specialist to assist in problem solving. However, the systems issue that occurred during online registration simply required waiting for the arrival of a new hard drive.
Administrative and academic computing also had difficulty getting the internet functioning on campus at the beginning of the 2003 – 2004 academic year.
“The opening of last year was difficult. It was a nightmare across more campuses than just ours,” Wily said.
To prevent further long-term internet outages, Eastern has updated its infrastructure and is using smart switches, devices that restrict certain types of or excess internet traffic that typically indicates virus activity.
Wily, as well as Philip Mugridge of academic computing, advises students to keep their computers clean as a way to help maintain internet connection across campus.
“Computer freezing or slowing down noticeably after being on the web could indicate the presence of spy ware, which is often included with peer to peer software, like Kazaa,” Mugridge said. “Inability to open programs on your machine, or to open Internet Explorer, can also indicate a virus”
Viruses often enter computers through security holes in Windows, Microsoft Office and internet Explorer. Keeping virus scans up to date and patches on these programs will help prevent the future loss of internet connection.
“Usually, the internet does not actually go out in residence halls – It’s kind of like the Schuylkill Expressway because when viruses get in they clog up traffic. If students can keep their machines clean, that’s the biggest factor in keeping the network and internet connection,” Wily said.