Tufts Technology Services updates campus wifi, printing services

Tufts Technology Services (TTS) has begun implementing changes to campus wifi and printing, as well as to its facilities in Eaton Hall, according to TTS Director of Client Support Services Kyle Pope. Some of these updates were completed during the summer, while others will continue to be put into place throughout the fall. 

Pope said that changes to TTS’ printing services include allocating a new $10 subsidy to every student’s ID that can be used at pay-for-print stations across campus.

“We don’t feel that it should be incumbent upon the student to bear that cost if that is required by their studies at Tufts,” Pope said. “We had to balance the fact that we’re asking students to do something and essentially giving them a mandate without telling them about the fees, versus being able to support all of the students.”

The subsidies will be funded by a mix of revenues from the operating costs of printing services, new terms negotiated from Tufts’ contract with their printing service providers and subsidies from the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, Pope said.

According to Pope, the number of computers available in the lab has been reduced from 78 to about 40 because no more than about 40 students were shown using the lab’s computers at peak times, according to a year’s worth of surveys and log-in statistics collected by TTS. However, the computers have been replaced with new Dell Precision Workstation and 27-inch iMac desktop computers, he said.

Eaton’s service desk will also be staffed more often, with both computer repair and customer support  services offered by a rotating schedule of student and full-time employees, Pope said. 

Over the summer, Eaton Hall’s computer lab was re-painted and given new facilities, according to Manager of Service Marketing and Communications Christine Fitzgerald. She said that new furniture is currently being added to one side of the room, including high-top bar tables, stools, chairs, banquettes and mobile white boards designed for collaborative work. She also said that in the three available multimedia collaborative spaces there are large screens with HDMI and VGA inputs for students to plug in hardware.

Some of the collaborative furniture is not yet available and will be installed in October, Fitzgerald said.

According to PopeEaton had been overdue for a major renovation.

“There was duct tape covering rips in the carpet. We made real investments in the furniture to make it more collaborative and more like what the students we got feedback from were asking for,” Pope said, referencing a survey available in labs across campus last year.

Campus wifi was also improved, as 70 percent of residential dorms received multiple access points over the summer, according to Director of Enterprise Infrastructure Theresa Regan. The remaining 30 percent of dorms will probably be updated with new wireless access points during winter break, Reagan said.

Regan described the process as an “aggressive project” that switched the wireless infrastructure of 42 buildings — most of them residence halls — from Aruba to Cisco’s hardware.

The new networks are currently listed as “Tufts_Secure,” “Tufts_Wireless” and “Tufts_Guest,” Regan said.

“Wireless is the kind of thing that, when it’s working, people are really happy [about] and they have no reason to give us feedback,” she said. “It does what it’s supposed to do, it’s like running water. You turn the faucet on and it works.”

Additional updates to be implemented include a new printing queue which only lists print jobs incurred on a student’s ID, improved software for printing from personal laptops and desktops and a new pay-for-print printer that will be added to the Campus Center some time this fall, according to Pope.

The priorities of TTS’s updates to its printing services were based off student responses to a survey emailed to the student body in February, according to a Feb. 26 Daily article.

Learning Spaces, the project that provided the funds for Eaton’s renovations — not including those for the new computers — has begun planning for the summer of 2017, according to Pope, who is a member of Learning SpacesPope added that the project will continue to refresh Tufts’ facilities in the future.

“What we want to do is spread the wealth around, that we’re not concentrating all of our refresh efforts for one school, one department, one area of campus,” Pope said. “We want to make sure we give equal time to all the different locations.”