Each student has their own network account, which is individual to them. Every account requires a User Name and password to be provided before entry to the account is authorised. All students have a separate matriculation number which is allocated on registering to study with the University. The User Name is your matriculation number, a typical user name will look like this – 02001661. Passwords are also individual to the user, your initial password will be the first letter from your Christian name and your date of birth (e310983), however it is recommended to change your password straight away to something you will remember and is personal to you; you will be automatically requested to change your password every 90 days from then on.
The Intranet The intranet is a privately maintained computer network that can be accessed only by authorised persons within a company, or in Napier’s case, a University1. It is usually made up of numerous interlinked local area networks (LANs) and in addition uses ‘hired’ lines from the wide area network (WAN). The key principle of an intranet is to convey University information among all the staff and students.
The intranet uses TCP/IP, HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), amongst other Internet protocols, albeit really just looks like a restricted adaptation of the Internet. Although, Napier does also allow staff and students within their intranet community to access the Internet through firewall servers; thus to protect the intranet from viruses. Underlying Infrastructure The underlying infrastructure of your network account and the Intranet is mainly JANET (Joint Academic Network). JANET is the main backbone network for the UK university system of academic and research computers.
A backbone is a substantial communication line that transmits data collected from the more minor lines that intersect with it. Within a local level, the backbone is merely a series of lines that LANs connect to to get a WAN connection. While on WANs and the Internet, the backbone is a group of paths that local and regional networks join to to receive a long distance interconnection, the points in which the paths intersect at are known as nodes. JANET is sometimes also referred to as SuperJanet. UKERNA (United Kingdom Education ; Research Networking Association) operates and controls the JANET network. UKERNA is a non-profit organisation, which is under contract with the UK Higher Education Funding Councils Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).
Guidelines for use of University Facilities The guidelines for the use of the Universities facilities are all stated in the ‘Acceptable use Policy – Computer suite’. When you first access your account this will appear automatically and you must read and click that you agree to abide by these rules. The guidelines can be found at: http://www.napier.ac.uk/depts/citservices/Documents/acceptable_use_policy.PDF
Getting on-line at home or in hall’s or Residence The basics To get an internet connection all you need is a telephone connection and a computer. The majority of internet providers will come out and set up the connection for you or give you detailed instructions and a CD-ROM which will take you through the connection process. You will firstly have to choose whether you would like a dial-up connection or Broadband.
Broadband is now becoming the increasingly popular choice for people who want to connect to the internet. The reason for this is the speed of Broadband is remarkably greater than with a normal dial-up and also allows you to download substantially bigger files. Thus allowing you to download bigger files at a faster rate, for example, music albums take minutes and even films can take under ten minutes to download from the Internet. The negative point of Broadband compared to dial-up is that it more expensive even though you are getting the same service – just a bit quicker.
With a dial-up connection the Internet service providers (ISPs) are now capable of offering free dial up internet access since the bulk of web surfers have now decided to upgrade to high-speed ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)2 and Cable (these are both a Broadband connection). Given that dial up internet access is not as popular as it once previously was; the ISPs are able to forward the savings onto their customers. This is great for the users that want internet access however can not meet the expense of some of the faster, more expensive Broadband services.
As a student you would more than likely feel the advantage of a dial up internet connection, as the majority of students in the present day are weighed down with University course work and constant revision that they do not have the time to hold down a decent paying job. As a result of this, you would obviously not be willing to pay extra for such expenses like the dearer high-speed Internet accounts. Dial-up Internet services allow you to connect to the Internet to do research and University work, or to send an email back home at more economical price.
Which ISP is the best? There are so many different Internet Service Providers offering connection to the Internet through them. The usual package starts at 7.99 a month and can go up to anything like 35 a month. For 17.99 the major ISP’s like AOL, NTL, Virgin and Wanadoo generally offer unlimited time online and downloads, 512kbps (kilo bytes per second download) and 10 x faster. a free modem and free connection is offered by all the ISP’s, although NTL, Virgin and Wanadoo only offer this if you order online. When deciding on which ISP to connect to the internet with, I would recommend checking and comparing all their offers first. A good site for researching this is http://www.adslguide.org.uk. This allows you to choose six of your preferred ISP’s and the web site compares them on speed, reliability and customer service.3