Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as we all know, is a very prestigious school; in fact, it has a spot on just about every top 10, top 20, or top 50 list found in major publications. Moreover, RPI is a technological institute, and, therefore, a research university that is primarily focused on science and technology. That being said, we feel that Rensselaer is lacking, obviously not in science, but in technology. One specific technology, mind you: internet access.
There have been a string of events that have led to a slight degradation of our school’s networks. Last year, RPI’s Division of the Chief Information Officer implemented a ban on what are known as external domain name system servers. DNS servers basically take a website (say, “www.google.com”) and turn it into what is known as an internet protocol address. Even though DotCIO meant well in banning external DNS servers, they did not have the capacity and infrastructure to serve the campus’s DNS needs.
Another massive problem on campus is Wi-Fi connectivity. Often times, in new locations, it takes an extraordinary amount of time to connect, and once connected, the network often fails. Granted, efforts have been made to improve the situation: connectivity in Sage Laboratories, for instance, has been better this year than last.
The third specific issue we’ve found is regarding Rensselaer’s Central Authentication Service servers. Over the past week, CAS has gone down, been fixed and brought online, and gone down once again. These servers are important to much of campus life, as they authenticate users for Rensselaer’s virtual private network and the Rensselaer Union’s club management system, among others.
The Poly feels that, because RPI is such an innovative institute, as well as the fact that telecommunication networks have been crucial to student life and are critical to education, the school needs to devote more resources towards maintaining the network that we already have and improving the components in the network that often fail. While we understand that Rensselaer can never be as expansive as Google or other tech giants in terms of robustness and uptime, we feel there should be more redundancies built into the network. Improving the system will greatly aid the Rensselaer community in its pursuit of knowledge and innovation.