The Reality of Residential Networking


Northwestern University is in the third year of having all residence halls networked. Currently, over 5,000 students connect their personal computer to the Northwestern network. Over 80 percent of undergraduates and 70 percent of graduate students have an Ethernet-networked personal computer in their dorm room. This paper focuses on annual planning cycle preparing for the fall start-up when students either reconnect or connect to the network for the first time. Northwestern's comprehensive distributed computing plan incorporates computer purchasing guidelines, information technology marketing, account creation, automated installation and configuration of connectivity software and Internet applications, new student orientation sessions, electronic ethics education and preparing support staff for troubleshooting difficult installations. The Remedy Action Request System was implemented in Fall 1996 for tracking support requests. The paper includes analysis of the ongoing support and the support delivered to network over 3,000 students in the initial 2 weeks on campus.

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