Start of Semester

First of all, a big welcome from IT Services to all new students who have joined the University this year and welcome back to all students who are returning after their break over the summer. For the IT people, this has been overall the busiest summer we can ever remember, with all the preparation to install the network infrastructure for the opening of Riverside East, refurbishment of the Aberdeen Business School, and rolling out as part of that new Windows 7 desktops, a new printing solution, new audio visual facilities, a new WiFi system and moving one of our datacentres. I’ve written in more detail about these in various other posts over the summer and you can look over them for a bit more background.

We’ve done our best to test all of these over the summer, but it’s not until the start of semester when students return that everything really gets put to the test, and there have been a few teething problems this year. WiFi I know has been difficult in some parts of the Campus. In Riverside East, we put a new WiFi system in, based on “Eduroam.” This is working very well and the great thing is that once you have set it up on your tablet or smartphone, it connects automatically so you don’t have to keep on entering your username and password. The old Wifi system is still around in the rest of the Garthdee Campus and we had originally planned to rollout Eduroam to the rest of the Campus over the next few months. However, we’ve experienced a number of problems with the old WiFi system. We have a temporary solution in place which will keep the old system available, but we are now going to speed up the rollout of Eduroam to the rest of the Campus. This will consist of two phases:

First of all, we will replace all the existing WiFi access points on the old system with new Eduroam ones. That will be fairly quick and we hope can be done in the next 2-3 weeks. However, these access points do not currently cover the whole campus – they mainly cover the more heavily used public areas and teaching spaces. So the next phase will be to add additional access points to bring WiFi to as many as possible of the areas not covered by the current system. This will take a bit longer, as it takes some time to plan the optimum location of new access points.

We’ve had good feedback about the new Windows 7 desktops and those of you who were here last year should see a noticeable improvement. Some people have reported that some of the new desktops “freeze” from time to time for a few seconds, – IT Services are aware of that and are working on a solution along with our supplier.

The new printers are working well and successfully processing thousands of print jobs every day. As it’s a new system, we’ve had a number of calls to the Help Desk for people asking for help and advice, and a small number of specific issues, but hopefully that will settle down now as everyone adapts to the new system.

Talking of the Help Desk – the start of Semester is always a really busy time for the IT Help Desk. There’s normally a steady stream of people who have forgotten their passwords (not you though?) and this year there have been many additional calls from people asking how to use some of the new facilities such as printing and Eduroam WiFi. The graph below shows you clearly how the number of calls to the Help Desk have spiked just over the last 2-3 weeks, so I hope you understand it will take a little bit longer for non-urgent calls to be answered at the moment. Remember that you can find information on how to solve the most common queries on the IT Help Desk pages on RGyoU so please look there first:

You can also find information on the IT Services pages on the main University web site.

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