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Graduate Dorms to Receive MITnet Connections

By Vipul Bhushan
Senior Editor

Graduate students will soon have Ethernet access in their dormitory rooms, according to James D. Bruce ScD '60, vice president for Information Systems. Ashdown House, Edgerton House, Green Hall, and Tang Hall will be connected in the 1994-95 academic year, with Eastgate and Westgate coming on-line the following year.

IS will provide facilities for each student to connect an appropriately equipped computer to the campus network, according to Cecilia d'Oliveira, director of distributed computing and network services. The Ethernet drops will provide each room with a 10 million bits-per-second link to MITnet, enabling users to connect to Athena and other computers on the Internet.

D'Oliveira estimated the cost of adding Ethernet capability to a workstation or personal computer not already so equipped at $100 to $200. There will be no charge for the network connection.

Work will be done this summer to install the needed hardware in the houses for unmarried students, according to Lawrence E. Maguire, director of housing and food services. The work in Edgerton and Tang will coincide with the installation of the required 5ESS campus phone service in those dorms.

The Housing Office will pay $115,282 for this initial installation, according to Kenneth R. Wisentaner, associate director of housing and food services. This amount will be recovered by adding $2.00 per month to each occupant's rent for five years beginning in fiscal year 1996. D'Oliveira estimated recurring expenses of around $20,000 annually, which will be paid by IS.

IS does not plan to hire any additional staff or student consultants to support graduate dormitory networking, d'Oliveira said, but will use existing staff who are already supporting undergraduate residences.

March resolution cited

The expansion of MITnet into graduate dormitories follows its introduction in undergraduate living groups this year.

Outgoing Graduate Student Council President Caryl B. Brown G credited Kamon and Jonathan D. Baker G, both members of the GSC's Housing and Community Affairs Committee, for successfully lobbying the administration on this matter.

The GSC passed a resolution on March 2 which requested the timely installation of network services in graduate housing facilities. The resolution cited a GSC survey conducted in the fall in which nearly 90 percent of the respondents indicated a desire for Ethernet connections in graduate housing. The resolution also cited graduate student desires for personal safety late at night and convenience in accessing the network.

Kamon said that graduate students "spend late hours in the lab," and would benefit from the access. Providing network connections in dormitories would improve such students' quality of life, and allow them to lead "psuedo-normal lives," he said, adding that such concerns are especially important for married students.

In a collaboration with the Medical Department, IS also plans to provide network access for inpatients.

Efforts to provide network service to off-campus students via telephone lines are under investigation, said d'Oliveira.