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Dorms, ILGs To Get Network Hookups

By Jeremy Hylton

Editor in Chief

The end-of-term struggle to find a free Athena workstation may become a thing of the past. The Institute will begin installing network connections in undergraduate dormitories and independent living groups this summer, according to James D. Bruce ScD '60, vice president for Information Systems.

In dormitories, each student will be able to connect his own computer to the MITnet. ILGs will receive only a single network connection and must pay to extend services beyond that connection.

Installation of the 2600 connections will begin this summer and be finished by the spring of 1994, according to Lawrence E. Maguire, director of housing and food services. Work will begin in ILGs, which should all be connected to the network by the fall term.

IS will provide standard twisted pair ethernet connections to on campus living groups, while off-campus groups will receive slower digital telephone line connections. The ethernet provides information at 10 megabits-per-second, while the speed of the slower connections is 56 kilobits-per-second.

The network services will augment the Athena Computing Environment which currently offers nearly 600 workstations for use on campus. Long waits are common for public workstations at the end of the term; at one point last night fewer than 10 terminals were available for use after 11 p.m.

To make use of the network connection, students will need to provide their own computer equipped with ethernet support. Most personal computers, including Macintoshes and DOS- and Windows-based personal computers, require ethernet cards, costing between $150 and $250.

IS will also provide a variety of specialized Athena services to users of personal computers. Zephyr, the Athena personal message system, TechMail, an electronic mail program, Discuss, an on-line meeting system, and On-Line Consulting, a student-staffed help service, will be available for Macintoshes by September and for DOS and Microsoft Windows by September 1994, according to a press release from Jeffrey I. Schiller, network manager.

Graduate students dormitories will not be provided with comparable access, however. "Athena was implemented as an undergraduate program. This seems to be along those lines again," said Anand Mehta G, Graduate Student Council president.

"It would be good if they would hook-up graduate dorms as well. For example, Ashdown and Green Hall are on dorm line ...but the plan is not to include them because of cost," Mehta said.

Mehta said graduates students tend to use Athena less, but use computers in their research more. Providing access to those computers from dormitories would be useful, he said.

"At least if this happened this would decrease the amount of use the clusters would get, free up work stations on campus, and makeup dialup machine use more available," Mehta continued.<\2><\2><\2><\2><\2>

(Editor's note: Sarah Y. Keightley contributed to the reporting of this s t ory.)<\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2