New Campus Network Access Receiving Mixed Signals

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The IT department has introduced a new Network Admission Control (NAC) system called CounterACT as a replacement to CISCO at the beginning of this semester, and not everyone is excited about it.

“The new network access technology is far more sophisticated,” says Greg Dumont, the Chief Information Officer of McDaniel’s IT department.

The objective of CounterACT is to provide more guest services, improve connectivity to personal devices, and constantly check for viruses and malware. The IT department’s goal is to replace the McDanielNet network with another wireless network entitled “McDaniel College,” which is managed by CounterACT. Eventually, McDanielNet will be obsolete and everyone will be using the “McDaniel College” network.

“Deploying new technologies can be disruptive, so we waited until break when most of our faculty and students had left campus,” Dumont said. “Then we wanted to make the necessary changes and have the solution in place and operational before people got back to campus from break.  There is still some fine tuning we are doing to improve performance, but that should not create widespread disruption nor prevent people from accessing the network.”

Here are a few students’ opinions on the CounterACT and its wireless access:

Erika Miller, Senior:

“CounterACT does not ever ACT right! The login never works and it is false that login is only required once per week. When I try to click on another tab and go to another webpage I get directed back to the login page. I believe that [CounterACT] is only for people with Apple products anyway, so I do not understand why I have to suffer and walk to the library, which defeats the purpose of having a laptop in the first place. Bring back CISCO for the regular folks!”

Angel Randall, Senior:

“At first, the Wi-Fi connection was terrible and would not stay connected. Then, I received a notification from the IT department stating that it was a new Wi-Fi network and not to use the McDanielNet network. So, I went to IT department to disable McDanielNet network and to connect to the McDaniel College with CounterACT. However, I was told that my brand new laptop needed over 75 updates in order to connect to the McDaniel College network. After numerous visits to the IT department, I was told I need even more updates. Finally, I was able to connect but the Wi-Fi connection was only temporary. I realized I would remain connected as long as I stayed in the library. After two weeks, I was able to stay permanently connected to the new network without updating my laptop.”

According to EdTech magazine, studies show that wireless Internet is a prerequisite for a degree. Ninety percent of students believe Wi-Fi access is as essential to an education as a classroom or a computer because it helps improve academic performance and increases productivity. To ensure the McDaniel community is receiving quality Internet connection, instead of saying “Bye Felicia!” the IT department will be saying “Bye CISCO!”