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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Bmail will change to Gmail over the summer

Published: April 23, 2010
Section: Front Page

Library and Technology Services (LTS) has announced that this summer, Bmail, Brandeis’ campus e-mail system, will be converted to a system managed and controlled by Google. It is also considering moving to a completely wireless Internet network in the residence halls, in addition to reducing or eliminating campus room phones.

Brandeis currently controls Bmail, meaning that if the e-mail system was to suffer a glitch it would need to be fixed immediately by LTS staff.

“Google has built a reputation for being highly reliable,” said Susan Wawrzaszek, deputy chief information officer and university librarian. The switch to Google will not cause students to loose any features; but they will gain access to a Google calendar and better spam protection. LTS staff previously working on Bmail will be redirected toward other projects in LTS.

For students concerned about these changes, “ I would be happy to have students e-mail me. Direct contact is always easiest. Suggestions, concerns, and questions are always welcome,” said Wawrzaszek.

Eliminating wired Internet in the residence halls as well as removing the phones will allow the university to save approximately $200,000 in energy costs from the change and removal in equipment.

The campus network needs to be upgraded regularly as components become old or obsolete in the quickly changing technological world. Data from LTS surveys as well as information on usage has led LTS to consider switching to the completely wireless network in residence halls because, “this is the most popular network, it just makes more sense,” Wawrzaszek said.

LTS will decide in the next year whether to make the switch to the wireless network. They plan to make sure that the new wireless network is reliable and capable of the campus’ bandwidth needs.

LTS is considering the removal of the phones because in essence they are mini-computers using energy.

“The phones are really important to some students, I understand that some of you may use it as your main communication on campus, but there are some students who don’t even plug them in so supplying one for every student may not be best,” Wawrzaszek said. She added that most students own cell phones so they would still be able to communicate via phone.

In addition to these changes, LTS plans to consider if and where desktop computer clusters are needed, as surveys and data also show that most students own a lap top computer. Lap top docking stations would most likely replace clusters. Special software clusters such as Getz Lab would not be removed.