Beginning last Friday, all students enrolled in the Kenan-Flagler Business School were placed behind a different router in the University's computer network system.
Officials say this step is one in a gradual process by UNC's technical support services to improve the University's computer network.
"This is the first step in changing the entire campus network architecture," said Jim Gogan, director of networking and communications for Academic & Technology Networks.
Gogan said that if all UNC students were routed under the same network, the system would be unable to carry out all its normal functions.
"It's not really the high level of traffic, it's just the sheer number of students that are on the network," Gogan said.
He said the network must recognize the Internet Protocol address, four sets of numbers that commonly are known as a word address in a Web browser, of every student enrolled on the network. He said using different routers for students eases that burden on the network.
Despite the new change, Gogan said students should be unaffected.
"Now that the router is installed, there is a reduced mobility for students on that router," he said. "But, if a machine uses the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, then the IP address will work all over campus. And all the students' machines use DHCP."
Business school students received an e-mail early in the week describing how to change IP addresses.
ATN officials said the change went smoothly with very few problems. Bruce Egan, assistant director of ATN's Information Technologies Response Center, said the ATN staff was prepared for problems, but that the transition was relatively painless.
Gogan also said no major problems were reported. "Some things fell through the cracks, like hidden UNC ONE card machines and document printing settings on some campus computers, but they were all things that were resolved on Friday," Gogan said.
But some students in the school expressed concern about the lack of information provided to them.
Junior Christie Ulman said she experienced some trouble with the network change. After attempting to go online and being denied access, she discovered the e-mail describing the changes.
But Ulman said that after following the relatively simple directions to change her IP address, the problem was fixed.
"It wasn't too tough, but it was a little frustrating at the time," she said. "It would have been nice if they had made an announcement about it at the business school."
Gogan said the change was explained to business school officials, and those officials were responsible for passing the information on to the students.
Although the system is new to business school students, it already has been implemented in other schools and areas of campus.
This router system already is in place between the main campus and the School of Medicine. It is also set up between the four South Campus residence halls. Eventually, the North campus residences halls also will use different routers.
Gogan said, "It's something we have already started, and will continue to do over the next year."
The University Editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.