CeePrompt! Computer Connection

Originally published September 17, 2001

UOP Moves to the head of the communications class

Friday, UOP had a quiet celebration of sorts for its newly completed Cisco network. Dubbed the Cisco Celebration, the event represented the culmination of a network upgrade that puts UOP on the cutting edge of technology. It's a state-of-the-art network that's unparalleled in similar academic institutions. The only visible signs of this upgrade are 5,700 ports, or wall plugs, that can deliver video on demand, streaming video, voice-over IP and wireless capabilities.

The true beauty and power of this network lies beyond the eye of the beholder in walls, closets and underground tunnels. It's a vast labyrinth of fiber optics, hubs and routers based on Cicso's award-winning architecture for voice, video and integrated data model. AVVID is a model that combines data, voice and video traffic on a single multiservice network based on Internet Protocol standards. "AVVID provides a flexible, scaleable and highly available end-to-end framework for converged networking at small, medium, and large corporations," according to one AVVID client.

At the heart of the high-speed network is a first-of-its-kind wireless connection via Sprint to the Internet. Located at the top of Burns Tower, the dish delivers Internet content at speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. Compare this to the previously hobbled together T-1 connections that delivered maybe 5 megabits per second on a good day.

Beyond the unassuming plugs in the wall, this network upgrade opens the door to a wealth of applications that will benefit students, staff, faculty and the community. Video on demand and streaming video will enable true distance learning and maximize teaching resources within the UOP community. Students at the School of Pharmacy campus in Stockton or the School of Dentistry in San Francisco could take an ethics course from an instructor at UOP's McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, in real time from their own campuses. The opportunities for course ware through other institutions are endless.

Distance-learning opportunities eventually will be made available to the public through UOP's Center for Professional and Continuing Education.Plans are under way for a new Technology Center that includes a training facility that will appeal to local businesses for their ongoing technology training needs.

Students throughout the UOP campus already are enjoying the benefits of this new, high-speed network. A majority of residence halls are wired, so students can plug their own computers directly into the network. The network also dovetails directly into the UOP's Sun Ray project. Sun Rays are terminals connected to the network that deliver business software applications, including email and Internet browsing. (See Record article archive of Oct. 16 at www.ceeprompt.com/articles/101600.html)

The new network enables any of the Sun Ray terminals to be deployed throughout the campus. Students who come to school without their own computer can have one of the Sun Rays installed in their residence hall at no expense. One hundred students have Sun Ray terminals in their rooms.

Wireless-networking equipment is up and running in a number of departments.Any classroom in the Eberhardt School of Business, for example, can function as a hands-on computer lab provided the students bring their own laptops with wireless-network cards installed. The Benerd School of Education also has a wireless network up and running.

The School of Engineering runs a Cisco networking lab that makes its students highly marketable. The new network improves the opportunities for better internships and job possibilities. In addition, UOP is now eligible for certain grants in which an AVVID network was a prerequisite.

The outward manifestation of the network may be the only sign of this grand renovation, but I for one have a new respect for the network wall plugs at UOP.

Cathi Schuler owns a computer literacy training/consulting company, Cee Prompt! She is a co-author of computer textbooks and can be reached by e-mail at cschuler@uop.edu or cschuler@ceeprompt.com or by mail c/o The Record, P.O. Box 900, Stockton, CA 95201. She is on the Internet at: http://www.ceeprompt.com. Click here for past archived columns.

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