ITR partnership with Drexel brings faster connections, more options

By Ryan Mulloy
November 15, 2001

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In 1997, Drexel University became the first wireless university. Cabrini partnered up with Drexel to pave the wave for a wireless campus, as well. The partnership brought WebCT, a website that allows individual classes to have their own website. Through th

Last year, Cabrini College out sourced its technology-support services to Drexel University. This marks the first time that one college hired another college to provide such services. Such outsourcing is common among companies. For students, hiring Drexel has meant additional services beyond what were provided in previous years. For instructors, the partnership has provided additional resources for teaching.

Why Drexel?

Cabrini sought out Drexel for several reasons. Drexel University was the first university in the United States to require students to purchase a microcomputer. It was in 1997 that Drexel became the first wireless university library in the nation as well.

John McIntyre, director of ITR, said that everything has been very beneficial for the campus staff and students. A partnership with Drexel advances the campus through both technology and possible ventures for the future. An ITR staff, consisting of both Cabrini and Drexel employees, is now located on campus, with offices in Founders Hall.


The partnership has advanced Cabrini with several new ideas. The signing with Drexel has brought WebCT to campus. WebCT is the world’s leading provider of e-Learning. Essentially, WebCT gives students the option of taking quizzes and handing in papers from the comfort of their own homes. After bringing this web site to Cabrini, Drexel offered special faculty training sessions and continues to educate faculty and students alike in how WebCT works. The WebCT online program can be viewed at

ITR has also made help much more easily accessible for students. The website,, now offers a help online section. ITR have also created a help desk to assist the problems students face with their computer, the Internet and the server.

The Network

Most importantly, though, the ITR department has revamped the Cabrini server with increased speed and extended overall bandwidth of the Cabrini network. Bandwidth is the network capacity. Basically, this includes the speed of both the Internet and the campus network. On campus, each office, classroom, lab, residence hall and general public area has at least one jack per person for connection to the network. There are also some additional jacks located in various areas on campus. The jacks are connected to Ethernet switches, connecting each user to the network at a speed of 10 Mbps, or megabits per second. Since the outsourcing to Drexel, Cabrini’s server has increased its speed three fold.

The Internet

The speed is not the only thing that has changed with Cabrini’s Internet connection. From working with Drexel, Cabrini has signed with “Yipes,” a new Internet Service Provider that has been much more manageable for the ITR department. With this new company, a new e-mail and system have been provided.

Every building on campus now has a connection of 100 Mbps with a 1 Gigabit per second fiber-optic backbone. This year alone, the ITR department plans to upgrade and provide the students and staff with a much more reliable network.

Last year, the ITR department began its work in the New Residence Hall on campus. Wireless networks tend to involve zones. Students must be in a zone for a connection, the ITR department has done away with that notion. The staff have now made it possible for anyone to connect anywhere in the building, with a complete restructure of the network. Their most recent venture was the Grace Hall atrium, which is now operational and ready to help out with registrations. McIntyre said that by Thanksgiving, Founders Hall will be completely hooked up.

Problems and Solutions

This is good news to sophomore Josh Dzielak. Dzielak does not feel the server is fast enough to meet his needs as a student and has even experienced his own problems with it. “It freezes the computers constantly,” Dzielak said.

But while there are some students who have experienced problems with the server and wish it would be fixed, there are also those who are content with the current system of operations. Michael Tolland, a sophomore, uses the server in the library and in the labs on campus. Tolland feel the network is very efficient, though he has experienced some set backs with it as well. “On occasion it takes awhile to open sites,” Tolland said.

Viruses can be a major part of the slow down of a server. Viruses can be picked up almost any way on the Internet, including through personal e-mail. To combat this problem, some colleges have purchased site licenses for anti-virus software that will protect their servers, which would be easily crippled by a virus. The ITR department has taken the proper precautions. While McIntyre admits that downloading some things may affect your computer, the ITR’s use of Norton Anti-Virus Program scans all incoming and outgoing e-mail. The program will soon be initially offered to the campus through library loan or download from the ITR web site.

Tolland attributes this minor server problems to an overload of people using the server. He is correct, as the problem can be as simple as a swarm of people all using it at once. But while personal and recreational downloading, such as video lectures or file-sharing, can be cut down or stopped, the only real way to increase speed of the network is by throwing more money at the problem. McIntyre agrees that file sharing will slow down someone’s connection, therefore does not encourage the use of Napster-like programs.

In 1994, the University of Penn spent around $5-million on their network. Last year, Penn spent around $13-million for their network services and infrastructure. Costs rise and will continue to rise with more and more of a demand for more connections and the increase of speed.

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Ryan Mulloy

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