Information Technology Council


Minutes for the Meeting of December 8, 1997

Members present:  B. Dauffenbach, F. Durso, L. Colaw, B. Mason, L. Portwood, W. Stolt, D. Trytten
 
The council discussed issues relating to the OU modem pool.  Access to the campus network through the modem pool is virtually impossible.  Below are the problems and issues involved, and possible resolutions.  Decisions on the best ways to handle the problem will need to be determined.

Problems:

  1. The modem pool is completely full approximately 18 hours per day.
  2. Increasing the size of the modem pool will be expensive (perhaps $50k per year for 100 modems) due to the need for increased numbers of phone lines.
  3. Reaching a level of service of a private ISP, as measured by number of accounts per line, would require a four-fold increase in the size of the modem pool.
Issues:
  1. If technology is to be used to enhance the teaching, research, and service on campus, universal and reliable access must be available to all University members.
  2. Students expect some level of connectivity for their network connectivity fee.  The majority of students live off campus and the modem pool is their main entry point to the network.
  3. Economically, the current organization of the modem pool is untenable.  Allowing free access to a limited resource will create scarcity.  However, the ability to pay should not be the main factor that determines one's ability to access campus resources.
  4. Technology is quickly changing.  New means for remote access will soon be available, making upgrades to the modem pool obsolete.  Internet access might soon become a utility little different from phone and cable TV services.
Resolutions:
  1. Increase the size of the modem pool -  Although perhaps necessary to some extent, the university does not have the resources to fully meet the demand.
  2. Tailor the modem pool to use -  A large number of connections to the modem pool are for shorter (less than 30 minutes) periods of time.  If the pool was broken into one set of modems for short term connections and a second set for long term connections, a greater number of users will have access.  This could be done at little cost.
  3. Charge for modem use -  A system of charging for modem connection time beyond some pre-set limit would have two benefits.  It would bring in revenue to help defray costs of increasing the modem pool size and would encourage very heavy users to use other internet services.  Providing an inexpensive alternative such as the current OUnet/ioNET offering will help this.  Such an alternative must be discussed with students before being designed and implemented.
  4. Remove faculty access from the modem pool -  Faculty and staff account for 15% - 20% of modem pool usage.  Requiring alternate internet access, either subsidized by the university or paid for by individuals (such as parking) would free up resources.  Unless subsidized, such a change would have greater disadvantages than advantages by discouraging use of new technologies.

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