Faster Access, Roaming Ethernet Slated in Harvard's Technology Blueprint

Over the past several years, new computer services have been a visible part of students' lives, from online lecture videos, to personalized web portals, to colorful iMacs.

This semester, however, the changes in the works will be less apparent, but equally significant to the future of information technology (IT) at Harvard.

Harvard Arts and Sciences Computing Services (HASCS) is currently revamping its network to allow for continued growth in Internet use and traffic--a change that will ultimately lead to faster connections, better security and roaming Ethernet access.

HASCS fell under increased scrutiny last December when students and faculty encountered slow responses from e-mail and telnet servers.

According to Rick Osterberg '96, HASCS database applications specialist, most of the slowdown was attributable to overloaded storage systems. Over winter break, a new system was installed.

"We feel that the speed of our storage systems is now sufficient," Osterberg says.

According to Osterberg, HASCS will next address the speed of the systems used everyday, the "fas" set of systems. Harvard received replacement systems about a week ago and is currently installing them in the Science Center.

"Once the machines are brought online, hopefully in the next two weeks, users should notice a speed increase on interactive login sessions (such as Pine), as well as speed in accessing POP mail with programs such as Eudora," Osterberg says, referring to two commonly-used e-mail programs.