Information Services Unleashes New Technology

By Anne Rittman Hoya Staff Writer

Georgetown Unified Mail entered its second phase of development arch 1, allowing all GUSUN and select GroupWise e-mail users to migrate their accounts to the new university-wide GUMail service. The new service will allow students to access their e-mail accounts from remote locations.

Looking to reduce remote-access limitations, Georgetown has embarked on providing secure remote access to the Georgetown network. This will enable remote users to access on-campus resources, such as library catalogs, e-mail and Internet access.

According to Rich Kogut, chief information technology architect for the Office of Information Services, the new upgrades are “part of a general initiative across campus to upgrade disparate technology. We used to have separate e-mail systems everywhere, and different departments could not communicate effectively. We are modifying the system so it is open. This way we can automatically manage things like IDs and accounts. It will provide better service with less administrative cost.”

This new remote-access strategy is currently tackling several independent services, such as free time-limited dial-up modem access (GUExpress), extended dial-up service (GUAccess), digital subscriber line (DSL) access and virtual private network (VPN) support.

University Information Services implemented GUExpress, a point-to-point protocol (PPP) connection, which is currently available to support quick Internet tasks. Limited to 10 minutes, usage requires a standard modem and connection software provided with Microsoft Windows 95/98. “[GUExpress] is designed to behave as an on-campus connection,” Kogut said. The system will recognize users by their NetIDs and passwords, then allow them to access areas of the university according to their status.

The first conversion to the new technology affecting the mass of students is GUMail. The group who participated in the first phase of the GUMail program provided feedback on the service, in operation since Dec. 1. All GUSUN users are expected to migrate before the fall 2000 semester.

In the works for the past four months, GUMail’s debut is due to the Final Report of the E-mail Strategy Advisory Committee. The committee recommended a move towards a centrally-managed, university-wide e-mail platform for students, faculty and staff using open, Internet standards mail with IMAP.

Students’ e-mail addresses change to a uniform address, which remains permanent after graduation as part of the alumni HoyasOnline program. The GUMail account may be accessed via any Internet access location, allowing students abroad and at home to receive e-mail. GUSUN users may move the information stored in the old e-mail account into a GUMail account, including mail, folders and address books. Additionally, GUMail offers roaming access profiles, which allow bookmarks, address books, cookies, mail filters and user preferences to be used on more than one computer, letting users access them from anywhere.

“GUMail provides a reliable service from various locations. It uses standard tools like a Netscape browser and uses a generic address. Users can have mail delivered to multiple accounts, such as AOL. That way, if students are at home for the summer or abroad, they can access their e-mail. Also, we will maintain the account so that it will be permanent. After graduation, you can keep it,” Kogut said.

Although GroupWise users always benefited from Internet access to accounts, all McDonough School of Business students are expected to migrate now or during the third phase, expected to begin in July 2000 and run through June 2001.

As part of the initiative, a new directory has also been implemented. The directory, published on the Georgetown Web site, allows users to search for students and coordinates with the new GUMail service as well as the printed directory.

Further plans include the addition of calendar service to allow all users to schedule meetings publicly.

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