December 2005, Vol. 7 No. 2
Appointment of Dr. Ghassan Hamadeh
Prominent Arab-American Rights Activist Lectures on Islamophobia
Appointment of Dr. Thurayya Arayssi
Business School Lecture on Corporate Governance
Women’s League Meeting
Professor Samir Makdisi to Serve Again on Global Network Board
Human Resources Developments
University Senate Meeting of June 22
September Senate Notes
New Mission Statement
Dean Daghir Steps Down from Deanship
Recently Published: Comparing Media from Around the World
John Rhoder Leaves AUB
Prominent Saudi Businessman Receives AUB Distinguished Alumnus Award
Fading Poetry of Old Lebanese Houses: Art Project by Joe Saleh
Tips for Saving the Planet
Art Club Celebrates Art Day
Jafet Library Displays the Earliest Photographs of AUB Campus
AUB joined the forefront of digital technology this fall when it completed an ambitious wireless local area network (WLAN for short) that spans the campus. When first announced a year ago, AUBWLAN was touted as the largest such network planned in the Middle East. When full service began this fall semester, a whopping 700 students registered for access in only three days, with an overall total of 1,000 expected to sign on. The network covers the entire campus, except for some areas like the Green Field and construction sites.
Nabil Bukhalid, director of Computer and Networking Services (CNS), says that the philosophy behind establishing the wireless network is “to look at all of AUB as being a learning space: outside, inside, in cafeteria space… everywhere.“ Users logged on to the network can access e-mail, the internet, WebCT, library catalogs and journals, the Student Information System, and intranet services. Although mainly envisaged as a benefit to students, it will also be of great use to staff and faculty to enhance research capability or devise innovations in delivering courses.
The project began in 1998-99 with the initial testing of small pilot sites of wireless access and continued through last year’s phased deployment. With the acquisition of funding from American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) in 2003, the project gained momentum and allowed for the wide-ranging implementation plan to proceed at a rapid pace.
One of the toughest hurdles to overcome was that of security, which is always a serious concern of CNS staff and is a special problem with wireless technology. Full deployment was actually delayed for one year because of the unavailability of security solutions on the market. But with innovation always being a hallmark of information technology at AUB, Rabih Itani, the network and security manager at CNS, who headed the AUBWLAN project, used different modules from the market and developed an in-house solution for the security worries.
Itani stressed that the solution was, “a major collaborative effort of the AUB community who embraced it; without their effort and support it couldn’t have been done.“ This includes the students who work at CNS, the faculties and their system administrators who are now training and registering users, as well as the Physical Plant and the Facilities Planning and Design Unit.
In a capstone to the project, Rabih Itani received the Best Wireless Network Implementation Award at the Network Middle East Innovation Awards held in Dubai this past June. The awards were established to reward “the creative spirit that drives the networking industry.“
Those interested in getting wireless access should contact their system administrator or go to one of the advertised registration centers to get the necessary software and receive a quick hands-on training session.