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Campus Computing News

By Dr. Maurice Leatherbury, Senior Director of Academic Computing

Internet 2 at UNT Status Report

The Alliance Internet 2 GigaPOP, of which UNT is a member, is rapidly approaching actual connection to the Abilene network (the Internet 2 backbone). At the GigaPOP Advisory Council meeting on April 13th, we learned that the Alliance for Higher Education, which is managing the GigaPOP, has the Cisco switch on hand to connect the five initial members to the I2 backbone and is awaiting the "local loop" between the AHE site near the UT Dallas campus and the downtown Qwest site where we will connect to the Abilene network. The local loop connection is supposed to be made some time between April 25th and May 5th, at which time the member institutions can begin testing their circuits and routing Internet 2 traffic.

UNT is not on the AHE fiber spine and thus will incur more expense and delays to connect to the GigaPOP than the other universities. We've gotten bids to obtain a DS-3 line (45Mbps) to the AHE site but it will probably be August before we can actually select a vendor, get a contract, buy the necessary hardware, and actually make the connection. 

The advisory council voted last week on operational guidelines for the GigaPOP: those guidelines spell out membership rules and responsibilities, specify the costs of joining the GigaPOP, and delineate the governance structure of the organization. There are five charter members of the Alliance Internet 2 GigaPOP: UNT, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Christian University, and Alcatel USA Incorporated. Both Southern Methodist University and Baylor University have expressed interest in joining at some time in the future, and we also expect additional corporate members to come on board within the next year or so.

DCSMT Evaluating Personal Digital Assistants

The Distributed Computing Support Management Team is currently evaluating a number of PDA's, such as the Palm Vx, various Cassiopeia devices, and the Psion Riva, with the goal of determining which device or devices work in UNT's computing environment. The Computing Center is funding the purchase of several evaluation units, which are being circulated among technical support staff as well as end-users. Tim Christian, Computing Systems Manager in the College of Arts and Sciences, is heading up the DCSMT committee conducting the evaluation. The committee has established the following evaluation criteria:

1.GroupWise integration
    Supported features in priority order: 
    3.Directory (contact information) 
2.Ease of use for the end-user (input devices, stylus, keyboard, OS, etc.) 
3.Supportability (management, reliability, stable, etc.) 
4.Cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Unix) 
5.Portable (goals: pocket-sized, lightweight) 
7.Battery life (longer the better) 
8.Screen (color support, back-lit, overall quality) 
9.Breadth of applications 
11.Internet connectivity/Pure wireless 
12.Life Cycle 
13.Cost (initial, on-going)

To date, only one of the units that were ordered has been received, so it's likely that the committee won't complete its evaluation until some time in the Summer. In the meantime, if you have an interest in the process you can contact Tim at or x4498.