Technology campus-wide update

By on April 8, 2013

On UAB Campus, there are about 10,000 university owned computers, and out of that number, 40 percent are managed by UAB IT.

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The others are managed by the various schools and departments individually.

In addition to the large number of those computers, there are an additional 43,000 devices that use the WiFi network at UAB.

Due to the number of students and devices, changes to the computer infrastructure at UAB take time to implement.

It would take 18 months starting this past October to update the classroom computers that IT manages to Windows 7. Microsoft launched Windows 8 during that window.

“[Windows] 8 is still being tested against the University’s primary operational applications,” said Dr. Rigney, the interim Vice President of Information Technology.

Windows 7 will not be up and running on all IT managed classroom computers until March of 2014.

The computers in Sterne Library will be updated by its internal IT staff on their own schedule.

The computers managed by each school will also have a similar issue with updates as Microsoft releases new operating systems.

If one school or building is too quick to change and another too slow, it is possible that students and professors will have to use three different operating systems, Windows 8, 7, and XP.

Another concern for students, especially those in the dorms is that the WiFi connection is slow—slower than a classroom building or the library. This is due to the significant population and WiFi connected device density in the dorms.

During peak hours, the WiFi network is at its upper limit.

To help solve WiFi congestion, as many students as possible should connect their laptops to the ethernet ports which are in most, if not all, rooms and common rooms.

The IT staff is always looking to update the infrastructure in the dorms and works with their WiFi vendors to find updates when available. A consultant recently visited campus to assess the WiFi deployment.

“We’re committed to improving the residence hall WiFi and hope to be able to make a major upgrade this summer,” said Dr. Rigney.

IT spends over 2 million dollars a year updating and maintenance of the systems and the University spends another 4.5 million dollars that pays for Blackboard, Banner, email, software licenses, and more.

The resources that IT uses stopped over 2 million unauthorized attempts to connect to the UAB network and defended against more than 600 internet-based attacks in February alone.

Additionally, UAB receives around 350,000 emails per day while simultaneously blocking just under 2,000,000 spam messages daily.

UAB has many issues to solve when it comes to its network and significant changes are coming soon.

AskIT and others are always at work to keep students’ and faculty’s information and documents safe while updating the services available to students.

For more information on AskIT, visit http://www.uab.edu/it/home/askit.

Jermichael Buckhannon
Staff Writer
talesguy@uab.edu

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