By Brian Miller, Staff Writer
In the event that the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) system’s internet fails again, the school system is making an effort to connect with students to warn them of important situations. UMF Executive Director for Information Technology Services, Fred Brittan said, “We are going to try to use the text alert system The University of Maine at Farmington has in place. We will create an optional group that alerts students in the event of an internet outage in the spring. Students will have to sign up for that service though,” Said Brittan “The big question is how to contact students when the internet is down, like it was. Much of our communication is through email.”
Frustration was raised when a very busy computer center starting having technical issues on Wednesday, November 7th. Students were trying to send emails, finish projects and or check Facebook when without warning, the internet practically came to a standstill. Students were left with a very slow internet connection.
Brittan said, “Road work crews in New Hampshire were trimming overhanging branches when one of the branches fell on a critical fiber optic line, severing the entire University of Maine system’s internet connection.”
“The University system uses two high speed internet connections for all of its campuses,” said Brittan, “When the primary one fails, the second is supposed to pick up the slack. Earlier in November when the internet seemed to completely fail, it was because the second internet connection, which is through a different internet provider, was only providing one fourth of the speed that it was supposed to.” The second internet provider that the University system uses was providing a full speed connection by 5:00 p.m. that night.
“I feel confident, but that is not a guarantee, that we have taken steps to prevent a similar incident,” Brittan said, “Both internet links going out of the University of Maine system have been rebooted and tested with simulations.”
Internet failures happen sometimes. “Five or six years ago, an outage lasted for about a day, the outage was caused by squirrels in Wilton, Maine that chewed through a cable,” Brittan said.
In the event that a similar incident does occur, the school system is making an effort to connect with students to warn them of the situation.
“One of our biggest concerns now is to open another line of communication with the student body,” said Brittan, “We are open to other ideas for us to communicate with the student body.”