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Students in Old Dominion's residence halls now have access to the world from their campus rooms thanks to RESNET, the university's new Residence Hall Network which provides Internet access to every student in campus housing.

More than 2,100 students in 941 rooms in Rogers, Gresham, Whitehurst and Powhatan will have access to thousands of research journals, articles and media outlets, as well as countless other reference resources with the new technology.

"RESNET gives Old Dominion students an opportunity for research and academic pursuits right at their fingertips," said Terry Durkin, director of housing operations. "It will allow them to communicate with faculty and complete their classwork from their rooms."

Wiring for the $1.3 million RESNET, which began last summer, was completed by December in Rogers, Gresham, Whitehurst and Powhatan halls. Installation of the networking hardware began in January. Currently, Rogers and Gresham halls are "live and running," according to Durkin. Work in Whitehurst Hall is expected to be finished by spring break and Powhatan Apartments should be completed by the end of March.

"It's so much easier to get on the computer in my room and do all of my research from there," said Monica Hurd, a freshman special education major who lives in Rogers Hall, who added, "I can stay up as long as I need to to finish my work."

According to Rusty Waterfield, director of communications and network services, each room has one 10Mb Ethernet network connection for each resident. Therefore, Powhatan rooms have four network connections each, while the other halls have two connections per room. Students are required to purchase their own computer and Ethernet connection card.

"If a student has the knowledge, he or she can buy and install the card themselves. If not, the university has contracted with Electronic Systems to install it for a $150 fee," said Durkin, who noted there are no fees associated with the use of the technology. "Some schools charge a technology fee each semester for Internet access in the residence halls. Old Dominion does not and that is unusual."

For students, Internet access in their rooms will mean convenience and freedom in arranging their schedules.

"I won't have to go walking back and forth from the library when it's very cold outside," said Wamda Ahmed, a junior biological sciences major who uses the Internet at least an hour every day to conduct research for her papers.

The university does offer six student computer labs with 245 computer stations and eight laser printers in the Perry Library, Webb Center, Batten Arts and Letters Building, Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building, Kaufman Hall and Virginia Beach Higher Education Center. But access isn't always convenient or available.

"I go to the library and computer labs right now, but we have to wait in lines at the labs, especially in the mornings," said Ahmed, who lives in Powhatan Apartments. "When my room is wired it'll be so much easier."

And while RESNET makes it easy for students to gain access to Old Dominion's network, it is also designed to present challenges to would-be hackers.

"Security of a dorm network is a major challenge. Universities are popular targets for hackers because of the computing power and the high-speed Internet access," said Waterfield. "We focused on reducing that potential in the design of RESNET and will continue to monitor it so that functionality is provided without exposing student machines to unnecessary risks."

This article was posted on: February 28, 2000

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.