February 21, 2006

Pair of glitches cuts Shoreland Internet

Shoreland Hall residents were blocked from the web from early Monday morning until midday when a failed circuit board and malfunctioning microwave back-up system blocked internet access to the dorm.

At 1:48 a.m. Monday morning, a failed circuit board at the Dorchester switching office broke the internet connection to the Shoreland. The University leases the wiring from SBC, a local phone company.

The broken circuit board coincided with another glitch when the back-up option—a system of radio microwaves—also failed. Greg Jackson, vice president and chief information officer of the University, said the problem could have been that the antennae were reacting to the weekend’s cold weather.

“Radio waves are notoriously more difficult to keep stable because almost anything pushes them,” Jackson said.

Technicians from SBC fixed the problem Monday morning, and the internet was running normally by midday, according to Jackson.

Jackson also noted that the SBC system is not preferable for Networking Services and Information Technologies (NSIT), but the Metra tracks provide an obstacle for the University to erect its own linking system.

“We have been worried about this for a while,” Jackson said of the uncertainty of being dependent on an outside source for internet connection.

NSIT hopes to install fiber-optic cable across the Metra tracks so that University buildings, including 5700 Stony Island and the Shoreland, will not have to use the SBC system.

He added that, depending on the schedule for securing permits, the new system could be ready by this fall.