With school back in session, students at Iowa’s colleges and universities are more “wired” than ever before. Steve Moon is director of network services at the University of Northern Iowa and says computers and the Internet have been an integral part of the school experience for a while now. Internet access dates to the early 1990s on campus, though back then students got on-line using university computers in public computer labs. As years passed more brought their own desktop and laptop computers, dialing in through phone lines and then high-speed Internet connections installed by the school. Today, he says there are thousands pulling onto the information superhighway. Counting student machines in the dorms, UNI probably assigns 10,000 different network addresses to computers, routers, switches, wireless access points, hubs, printers and servers. Moon says the “wi-fi” or wireless connections that can put a computer on-line without plugging it in can be useful in many locations. He points out that in the Uni-Dome or library it doesn’t make any sense to try and use a network connection that’s physically wired, and “wiring people who are truly mobile doesn’t make a lot of sense either.” The portable laptop or notebook computer may be the latest thing, but Moon says there are also plenty of situations in which wi-fi isn’t going to replace wires or fiber-optic lines, at least for now.He says important jobs involving instruction and administration should be handled with wired connections, for reasons Moon says include quality, security, speed and that the network’s proven it can handle the current workload. He says there are questions whether wireless computer links can do all that. Moon says there’s no question that computers are in education to stay, and there will remain many ways to connect and use them.
You are here: / / On-line connections continue to grow for colleges