The ITS Inbox


Why is it that we buy a new mail server only to have it fail, but can’t buy more wireless access points so that the wireless in Wallace doesn’t suck?
Fortunately, we were never in a position where we had to decide between better wireless coverage or a new email server. Both of these projects needed to happen, and we continue to place a priority on both improving wireless network access AND having stable, user-friendly email service. If we’d known how troublesome the OCS email system would be, we would not have implemented it.

Our first priority for wireless network access has been to provide coverage in gathering areas where there is little or no public network access, such as the Library, the Campus Center, and common areas in the dorms. Residence Hall rooms have wired network access, so given the choice between adding network access where there was none or adding wireless access to a space where there was already wired access, we chose the former. Wired network access is more reliable, more secure, and at least twice as fast as wireless access, so we recommend using a wired connection if one is available. There are also some technical challenges to adding wireless access to the dorms (ever notice how thick concrete block is?), and addressing those issues is both expensive and time consuming.

ITS is exploring options for email and also looking at ways to improve campus wireless service. We’d like to have greater student input on these and other technology issues, so ITS is forming several student advisory groups. These groups will meet throughout the academic year to help evaluate options for technical decisions. The first such group will address email. If you are interested in further information about the groups, or would like to join the student advisory group on email, please contact Ted Fines at [email protected]

The ITS Inbox is a weekly advice column featuring technology issues, written by Macalester College IT staff. Ask your question by emailing [email protected] Don’t worry – we don’t know who you are.