Posts tagged network

Yep, it’s happening again. This week we’ll be making some tweaks to LUNA, the network which is behind internet access in Student Village and Riseholme Park. Don’t throw things at us though, this is an upgrade to the internet in student accommodation which is all good. During the changes you won’t experience any interruption in network access.

How things work won’t change at all – the process for getting online will be exactly the same as it is at the moment. However, we’re putting some shiny new equipment in to replace the old stuff as well as updating all our software, meaning that the entire network will be more reliable (no more random dropouts at 2am when you’re catching up on TV), more robust (you won’t be able to break it by using something we’re not expecting) and generally a bit snappier.

We’ll also be revamping the look and feel again to bring it in line with our new web design. This will be even faster than before, as well as offering top-notch accessibility and browser compatibility. At the same time we’ll be taking a close look at how to make some bits of the process easier to work with, such as adding games consoles.

Finally, once we’re happy that things are stable, we’ll be turning on some new features such as optimised scans (which are even faster) and an at-your-convenience scan which you can perform when it’s best for you without losing internet access, unlike the current system of being unceremoniously booted from the network.

We’ll be removing the feedback box so many of you have used to complain at us (and in one case wish us several unpleasant diseases, for which we award a bonus star for creativity) since we think it’s served its purpose, but you’ll be pleased to know that it’s successfully helped us to resolve a great many problems which we wouldn’t have been able to spot without you. Thanks!

Today, big things were meant to be happening to the network. “Were” is the key word here, since upon the arrival of the ICT team from their Christmas┬ábreak – having dined and wined – we found that one of our two servers which support the student halls network had given up and fallen over. Not wanting to make sweeping changes on a broken system, we’ve now postponed updates until a time in the future. Hopefully this afternoon, but possibly not depending on how badly things have exploded.

Our ever-valiant team members who look after the servers and feed the gerbils running on the wheels inside them are looking at the problem right now. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s all going to be a bit quiet between now and Christmas (Although the three lifts @mab_sheila, @mab_jane and @mht_marie have promised to keep you company), but I bring exciting news (as promised) about the big changeover date for network access in student accommodation.

On the 4th of January, how you log in to the University’s network from University accommodation will change.

OK, that’s a bit of a lie to get your attention. How you log in won’t change, it’ll only look a bit different. The mechanics of registering a new computer won’t change either (and as a Christmas present you’ll be able to register games consoles!). However, a bit in the middle will be changing significantly – you will be required to run a quick scan of your computer when it is connected to the network. This is completely non-invasive (we honestly don’t care about the contents of your files, or your internet history, or your music collection) and only checks for the presence of certain required things, such as anti-virus and anti-malware software, the latest service packs, critical updates and so on.

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I’ve had a couple of people enquire as to what’s happening with LUNA and network access, specifically “will it all change”. The answer is “no, it won’t all change”. To cheer some people up, here’s a shot of what the new login page looks like:

The new login page.
The new login page.

You will notice it looks different, but this is just a cosmetic change. It’s the same username, it’s the same password. We’ve just revamped the code which underpins how it looks and feels to make it easier for you to use. You might also notice the presence of a new button labelled “connect a games console”, which does exactly what you might expect. It lets you register a games console to use on the network. Finally, you might notice the addition of an orange blob next to the games console button. This is the new traffic light – it goes red if there’s something actively stopping you getting online, amber if all you need to do is log in (or something similar) without there being a known problem, and green if you’re online and everything is working perfectly.

You’ll be able to give the whole thing a proper whirl next week when we present the demo to various people and start letting you have a play before it actually goes live. The big switchover for the real system is currently scheduled for over the Christmas holidays sometime (as soon as we have a date and time, you’ll know), and we’re going to try time it to cause as little disruption as possible. Most people shouldn’t even notice something’s happened, but there may be a few minutes when you can’t log in followed by a few minutes of things possibly not working entirely right whilst we finish tightening the screws on the new system.

It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update, so here goes: Next week I’ll be looking at developing a whole new service for communications. For now, however, it’s more on what I’ve been doing for our top secret project (which anybody has been able to find out about, we invited people to focus groups about but nobody showed up, and which you’ll hear more about from just about everybody very shortly) – LUNA.

LUNA stands for Lincoln University Network Access, which we know is technically incorrect because Lincoln University is either in Nebraska or New Zealand but it sounds cool. It’s the nickname for a huge set of updates to the workings of the network access controller which is responsible for connecting people in University accommodation to the internet. You know, the thing which asks you for your username and password and sometimes dumps you into the mysterious quarantine.

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