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PILOT PROJECT FOR CABLE MODEM/VPN
ITSS has been working on a project incorporating cable modems and the UMD network. The intent of the project is to allow users to connect from home and have the same capabilities as they would have if they were in their work areas here on campus.

Cable modems are different from the standard dial-up modem connections many people use at home. A cable modem allows for much faster transmission of data over the internet. Additionally, the cable modem is always connected, so there are no delays in connection. Cable modems are great for high-volume users or the individuals that are on the internet for extended periods of time.

The test-run of this project began February 1 and ran through the end of March. The participants in the pilot were required to get cable modem service from Charter Communications (formerly Bresnan Communications), a local internet provider.

While cable modems allow a significantly higher volume of information to be transferred at a much higher speed, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) also allow for secure conditions similar to those found while working directly on UMD's network.

A VPN provides special connectivity and authentication options between Charter and UMD so that it appears that the user is directly on the UMD network. This will allow access to additional network services that cannot be reached via the modem pool. In particular, if you have a Novell office server account, you should be able to connect to the server from home just as you would at the office. This will allow for access to files on the server as well as run the application software. A dedicated line from Charter's network to UMD's network increases the speed of data transmission to UMD from the home.

VPN will also provide secure transmission of data through encryption. Regular access to the Charter network with a cable modem transmission can be susceptible to eavesdropping. A VPN encrypts all transmissions, protecting them from eavesdropping.

The pilot project that incorporated the VPN was not entirely successful, but ITSS is very optismistic and will continue to work with Charter Communications. The plan is to implement this option for the campus commuinity within a few months.

Cable modems work very well and ITSS reccommends the use of this technology to any high-volume users. Acquiring this service from Charter now will not hamper anyone from obtaining the VPN option at a later date. Please note that the cost of the cable modem service from Charter is a cost the individual user will need to pay for themselves.

ITSS will continue to work on this project and inform the campus when it is available. So stay tuned on this exciting option!

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Last modified on 07/11/00
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