New features!

You are currently browsing the archive for the New features! category.

ResNet Wired, ResNet Wireless, eduroam on campus, 3 systems, 2 setup tools, 2 sets of instructions… that’s all a bit confusing, perhaps it’s time we simplified all that.

This summer, we’re going to wave goodbye to ResNet Wireless and make eduroam available in the halls of residence.  This will mean that you only have to set up your computer/phone/tablet once, and it’ll work in halls and on campus.   Much simpler for you, and much easier for us to support!

We’ve made the first step in that direction already, and the eduroam wireless signal is now available in halls.  If your computer is already set up to use eduroam when you’re on campus you’ll find you can already use eduroam in your room!  Somewhere around 12% of the devices we normally see connecting to ResNet Wireless are already connecting to the eduroam signal.

We’ve still got a bit of work to do to transition fully to eduroam in halls, but the timeline looks a bit like this:

  • 7th May 2013 – we added the eduroam (and Bristol-WiFi-Setup) signals to the wireless coverage in halls
  • 17th June 2013 – we’ll start contacting those who haven’t migrated, so that if they’re staying on in halls they don’t lose out
  • 24th June 2013 – we switch off the ResNet Wireless signal

Somewhere in between those two dates we’ll be launching a new version of the connection instructions for new users, updating the website, and making sure that anyone who hasn’t moved over to eduroam does so. The IT Service Desk will be laying on some additional telephone support (starting on the 24th June) for anyone who needs help migrating – we don’t want to leave anyone stranded with no internet!

The super-high-speed ResNet Wired service will be staying around, and will not be changing.  At some point in the future (probably 2014/2015) we’d like to make the setup of the wired service the same as eduroam.  The idea being that you set up your computer once and use it on the wired or wireless, seamlessly – but that’s a little way off yet!

Over the Christmas period we’ve been busily installing additional wireless points to improve some of the gaps in our ResNet Wireless coverage.

  • Churchill – we’ve installed 4 new wireless points at in MPQR block, doubling the coverage in that building.
  • Goldney Hall – we’ve installed 14 new wireless points.

Customers in those locations should see an improvement in signal strength and reliability as a result of this work.

We’re aware that there are still areas of poor coverage elsewhere on ResNet, and work is underway to close up the gaps.  Most notably, we hope to be installing additional wireless points in Deans Court (26 new wireless points) and Unite House (36 new wireless points) in the near future.

Most people are using ResNet Wireless this year, probably because it’s really convenient (who doesn’t want to be able to lie on their bed and watch endless videos of kittens on youtube?) but did you know that ResNet Wired is up to 5 times faster?

Internet speeds are limited by the slowest technology in the path in the chain.  At home that’s usually the bit between your broadband router and the internet, but on ResNet Wireless our connection to the internet is so blisteringly fast that the bottle neck can be the wireless technology used by your laptop.  There are two main wireless technologies on ResNet Wireless, 802.11g and 802.11n

We have the newer, faster 802.11n technology in place on about 80% of ResNet, and in our tests the speeds work out something like this:

802.11g

802.11n

Although these tests were done using an actual ResNet Wireless connection, your wireless connection might well be slower.  Our tests were done at a quiet time of day, and we were sat in the same room as the wireless router.  If all your flatmates are using ResNet Wireless at the same time as you, or if there are any walls between you and the access point then you can expect your wireless speeds to be a bit slower than ours.

However, neither of those factors effect the ResNet Wired service!

ResNet Wired

Blimey! That’s a bit quick that is!

To set up your computer to use ResNet Wired, just plug your computer into the ResNet socket in your room using the cable provided and follow the connection guide we gave you when you moved in.  If you don’t have a cable or a connection guide, ask your hall office or senior resident.

This issue has now been resolved – see updates at bottom of post.  If you believe you are still having wireless problems then please contact the IT Service Desk.

We are aware of some specific ResNet wireless connection problems at Deans Court and Unite House and would like to assure our customers that we are working to improve the coverage.  If you’re affected by these problems, we recommend using the ResNet Wired service until we’re able to resolve the coverage issue.

ResNet Wireless was installed in these buildings within the last six months.  Once installed it was essential to survey every room to see if the installation met our expectations.   Unfortunately because the building was occupied we were unable to do this survey work until the last two weeks of September.

We’re still analysing the results for most halls, but we’ve already highlighted a number of rooms at Deans Court and Unite Hose which had poor or no wireless signal strength.

We are not happy about this situation because we aim to provide the best possible connection for all our customers.  Over the next few months we will be installing additional Wireless Access Points into low signal areas .

We plan to complete the work required before Christmas 2012.

We’ll post updates about the process here when we have more information, including details of any other halls where we’re not happy with the coverage.

Update 6th Feb 2013 – Mark (ResNet Manager)

We really wanted to get the service in Deans Court and Unite House up to the high standards you expect of the Residential Network but due to circumstances beyond our control we have not me the Christmas deadline we set ourselves.

The good news is that we are really close to commissioning the 38 additional Wireless Access Points (WAPs) installed into Deans Court and the 26 additional WAPs into Unite House.  We’d love to give an exact date but unfortunately we can’t although we really hope to get fully working wireless by Friday 8th February.

Update 7th Feb 2013 – Mark (ResNet Manager)

We’ll be on-site today in both locations installing network equipment so we should have everything working by Friday 8th.

Update 8th Feb 2013 – Mark (ResNet Manager)

Great news, we have managed to get all Wireless working in Deans Court and Unite House today so coverage is greatly improved.  We are really sorry this has taken a little longer than originally planned but hope you are happy with the results.

Good news for residents in Langford’s Hostels – We’ve added ResNet Wireless so you can now connect your computers, smartphones and tablets more conveniently!

Here is some info on how to connect…

http://www.bris.ac.uk/it-services/advice/homeusers/resnet/connect/wireless

 

Over the last few months the ResNet team have been working with cabling contractors on a plan to install ResNet Wireless in the smaller student houses. Starting on Monday 30th April and continuing until Friday 4th May our contractors will be on-site installing cabling and over 20 Wireless Access Points to flat hallways – access should not be required to your room so the disruption should be minimal.

Adding wireless to these properties will increase Residential wireless coverage to just over 96%

For more information on ResNet Wireless please visit <http://www.resnet.bristol.ac.uk/wireless>

If you have any questions then please get in touch by email but please check <http://www.bristolresnet.net> before doing so as progress updates will be posted there.

 Update 8/5/2012 by Mark

Our contractor was hoping to have this installed by now but we’re having supply issues with the wireless access points and switches.  On Friday we received the majority of the WAPs so the cabling contractor can now crack on with the install.  Watch this space for further updates.

Update 21/5/2012 by Mark

You’ve probably noticed that the WAPs are being installed.  You’ve also probably noticed that when they are installed they don’t seem to work.  There’s a good reason for that.  We are still waiting for the switches to be delivered so that we can plug the WAPs in.   The order for the switches went in nearly 5 weeks ago but there seem to be supply chain issues, the result of which is long lead-times on the switches we need.  I’ve asked our supplier for an update and I will update this blog when I know more.

Update 21/5/2012 @ 11:20 by Mark

Our supplier has told us that we should expect the switches this week.  We then need to configure them and install them in the cabinets in the houses.  I’d love to guarantee working wireless this week but this totally depends on when the switches arrive and how much time we have to configure/install them.

Update 30/5/2012 @ 11:20 by Mark

Switches are in but we are waiting to have them configured.  If all goes well we’ll be installing the switches this week.  I know we’ve had a few prompts from people eager to have wireless, and I’m really sorry it’s taken so long, but we are getting there!  I’ll update the blog and email everyone when the installations are complete.

 Update 01/05/2012 @ 16:30 by Mark

We’ve finally installed and configured all WAPs in Student Houses – just in time for the Jubilee!  We are now at over 98% wireless coverage in ResNet and we’re planning the install of the last 2%.  Sorry things took a little longer than expected but we got there in the end.

 

Over the last few months the ResNet team have been working with Unite and cabling contractors on a plan to install ResNet Wireless in Unite House and Chantry Court. Starting on Wednesday 11th April our contractors will be on-site installing cabling and over 50 Wireless Access Points to flat hallways – access should not be required to your room so the disruption should be minimal.

We do not have a completion date but hope the installation will be completed before the end of the Easter Vacation.

Adding wireless to these properties will increase Residential wireless coverage from 80% to just over 95%

For more information on ResNet Wireless please visit

This post will be updated with any useful information as and when we have some.

Update 23/4/2012

We currently have all but 2 of the 51 wireless access points installed in Unite House and Chantry Court fully working.  We are working on the 2 that are not happy and hope to have them up soon.  We can see that 171 of you have used the wireless already which is great.  If you’ve not used ResNet wireless then you can do so by connecting to the ResNet-Setup wireless signal and visiting go.resnet.bristol.ac.uk.

Update 8/5/2012

Okay, all wireless access points in Unite House and Chantry Court are up and running – they were last week, I just forgot to update this post.  If you are having any problems connecting then we have pages to help connect.  If you’re having problems with signal strength then there is a survey that will help us identify problem areas.

 

Over the last few months the ResNet team have been working with A2Dominion and cabling contractors on a plan to install ResNet Wireless in Deans Court.  Starting on Friday 18th November our contractors will be on-site installing cabling
and 30 Wireless Access Points to flat hallways – access should not be required to your room so the disruption should be minimal.

We do not have a completion date but hope the installation will be completed before the end of the term (16th December 2011).

Adding wireless to Deans Court will increase Residential wireless coverage from 68% to just over 75%

For more information on ResNet Wireless please visit <http://www.resnet.bristol.ac.uk/wireless>

This post will be updated with any useful information as and when we have some.

 Update 09-12-2011
All cables have been installed but only some have been terminated. Swicthes are installed. We are a waiting for completion of cable termination which we expect to be next week. Looks like we are on target for completion by the end of this term 🙂

 Update 20-12-2011
The installation of Wireless ResNet was completed late last week and 28 of the 30 access points are now up and we’ve seen over 60 people using them already. We are looking into fixing the two that have never come alive either today or tomorrow. We hope you enjoy using Wireless ResNet.

While we already compare favourably with commercial broadband providers (on price, speed and bandwidth quotas) there’s always room for improvement – so we’re rethinking how much bandwidth we give you on ResNet.

Making your usage quota easier to understand

Currently you have two bandwidth quotas, one for off-peak and one for on-peak times of day.  Going over either quota lands you in a slow network for the rest of the week – at all times of day. This is confusing, and terribly inconvenient if you want to skype your friends back home during peak hours…

So, we’re getting rid of peak-time!

We’ve combined the on and off peak quotas to give you a single quota of 48GB per week (For ResNet Standard) or 81GB per week (For ResNet Max) – no more worrying what time it is!

We’ve been trialling this change since 23rd May and it’s been going pretty well so far.  The My ResNet control panel, and the Bandwidth Gadgets don’t fully know about the change yet, so your on-peak usage is being reported as zero.  If the trial continues to work out ok, we’ll have to see about fixing that!

If 81GB per week isn’t enough for you, you can still buy extra chunks of quota through My ResNet.

Making your connection even faster!

Not content with making things easier, we’re making them faster too!

Starting Monday 13th, we’re going to increase the speed of ResNet wired connections to 50Mbps symmetric – That’s 50Mbps download speed, and 50Mbps upload speed.  Once we’ve made that change, ResNet connections will be faster than BT Infinity Broadband (which gives you 40Mbps download speed, and 10Mbps upload)

Why is this awesome?  (Apart from it being obvious that faster is better!)

Well it means you can take full advantage of cloud based storage/backup solutions such as iCloud, Windows Live SkyDrive or Ubuntu One. It makes uploading photos or video to facebook/vimeo/flickr/youtube super quick, but most importantly – whatever cool new internet functionality is coming round the corner, we want your ResNet connection to be ready to handle it.

At this stage, we’re not making any changes to the speed of the wireless network.  We can make it a bit faster than it is at the moment, but we can’t make it quite as fast as the wired network.  So to take full advantage of the speed boost you’ll need to use your wired connection.

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Spiderman

Once your connection is faster than a very fast thing going downhill on rollerskates – it does mean that it’s easier to use up all your bandwidth quota.  We’ve done some sums and we think a bittorrent client serving up something popular (like an Ubuntu Linux DVD image) left unchecked could rip through the ResNet Max weekly limit in under 4 hours – on upload traffic alone!

If you’ve got any filesharing software on your computer, you might want to limit how much it can upload to the internet.  Most programs allow you to specify a maximum upload speed – we suggest setting this as low as you can get away with!

Not-that-small-really smallprint: All the features mentioned above are being trialled, we reserve the right to end the trial at any time if things start to melt.  We’ll make a decision about what next years network speeds look like based on the results of the trial, so the above features may or may not be available for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Oh, and they apply to ResNet only.  The VisitorNet service got an 8 fold increase about a month ago but that’s as far as we can push that for the moment.

Questions?

If you’ve got any questions or comments about the trials mentioned above, hit the comments below!

We’ve got a new version of the ResNet bandwidth quota monitoring sidebar gadget, which fixes a problem experienced by Windows Vista and Windows 7 users, where the gadget refused to accept their keys.

If you tried the sidebar gadget and it didn’t work, upgrade to the latest version from http://toys.resnet.bris.ac.uk and give it another go!

« Older entries