Printer Friendly

James Madison University becomes in-house telco.

For a small school nestled in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, James Madison University has big plans.

Its president, Ronald E. Carrier, wants the school "to become the finest public undergraduate university in the nation."

To reach that goal, JMU needs a telecomm infrastructure to match.

Five years ago, JMU was operating with a 20-year old centrex system. It long since had topped out its capacity of 3200 lines.

"I hate to bring up the over-used term 'state of the art' but we wanted a system that would accommodate 10,000 ports and grow with us for at least a decade," Bonadeo says.

In addition to expandability, he wanted access to emergency 911-type services, voice over data, and voice mail.

In the end, they chose a bid from BellSouth Communication Systems for a NEC NEAX2400 system.

Bonadeo hooked into the ACUTA (Association of College and University Telecomm Administrators) grapevine, and visited several commercial sites before making a decision.

Installation went smoothly and the network was operational prior to cutover. An NEC 8000-port UMG (Ultra Module Group) is located in the Wilson Hall Technical Services Center.

It is configured with Centigram's VoiceMemo II voice mail package. The network supports 850 Dterm Series II phones, 2500 single-line residence hall phones, and 1000 single-line administrative and courtesy phones. There also are several hundred ingoing and outgoing trunks.

The system processes 35,000 call records daily.

Each of the 2500 residence hall rooms is equipped with a phone which enables students to call any on-campus individual.

Students contract directly with JMU for off-campus and long distance service--there is no telco involvement.

The students must come to the telecomm department for service. "Many institutions automatically assign every student a personal telecomm number, whether or not they need it," Bonadeo says. "In our case, we believe it is more educational to have someone contract with us for a service--just as they would do when moving into a house or apartment."

"As part of our initial basic package each student received call waiting, call hold, three-way calling and call transfer," Bonadeo says. "A semester later we added voice mail."

Dterm two-line phones--configured with data adapters--allow access for handicapped students. Visually impaired students can access a Kurzweil Reading Machine. It scans text, translates text into voice, and telecommunicates the voice back to the caller through Dterm's speakerphone.

Emergency calls from JMU are made to campus police by dialing 6-911. A direct connection to the Harrisonburg, Va., Public Safety Action Police center is programmed into the system. It allows the JMU dispatcher to push a single button and instantly conference emergency calls with the Police, completing a three-way conference connection.

To streamline administrative operations, JMU recently upgraded to NEC's Maintenance Administration Terminal software. MAT is used mainly for entering, issuing and terminating account numbers.

Based on his experience, Bonadeo offers three suggestions to others:

* "First, perform an extremely thorough check on both equipment and the vendor supplying the equipment.

* "Second, be realistic about the installation of these devices. They are complicated hardware systems. It is easy to underestimate the time, effort and planning necessary for a smooth cut-over.

* "Finally, emphasize training. No matter how many time-saving features are purchased, end users must be able to operate them in order to improve their productivity, or your investment has been wasted."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Harler, Curt
Publication:Communications News
Date:Aug 1, 1991
Previous Article:Cornell develops interactive relational database for chefs.
Next Article:Food chain builds backbone network, bridges Ethernet LANs.

Related Articles
Newmark named exclusive agent for 660 Madison.
Offering diverse services to meet retail clients' needs.
Critical Protection partnership forged.
A stepping stone to the presidency.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters