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New York Institute of Technology Links Computers Via Data Communications Net.

The New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) is a private senior institution that offers programs to supply technically competent personnel for design, development, management, supervision and research in modern technological fields. NYIT sprawls over three campus centers that encompass approximately 1,000 acres: the Metropolitan Center in Manhattan, the Dorothy Schure Old Westbury Campus, and the Commack College Center. The Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) at NYIT houses VAX 11/780 computers that support NYIT programs for a diverse user community, which includes faculty, staff, and students disbursed throughout the three campus centers.

Dave Drace, systems manager for ASL, says that "One of the most unique aspects of NYIT's computer environment is the varied backgrounds and information processing requirments of the users who need to work on one or more of the available computers." Users range in knowledge and experience from novices working on computers for the first time to professors who teach computer science and are expert in their knowledge of information systems.

Providing all users with fast and efficent access to any of the five computers became an important requirement for NYIT. Moore comments that "We faced a major problem in offering any individual access to any of the computers." To provide access and link users spread throughout 14 buildings on the campus centers, the ASL purchased data communications equipment designed and manufactured by Digital Communications Associates of Norcross, Georgia.

NYIT's current network configuration consists of one DCA Systems 355 network processor, five DCA System 205 Unibus-Interface statistical multiplexers, 13 DCA System 115 statistical multiplexers, and one DCA System 105 statistical multiplexer. Drace describes the network saying, "The equipment serves as a multiplexing system taht functions in a point-to-point configuration to link 480 ports contending for five host computers." Al trunk links run at 9,600 b/s. In addition to the multiplexed terminals, ASL users can access a host computer through one of 16 dial-in modems. According to Drace, "The DCA equipment provides flexible switching, routing, and host selection--essential requirements for NYIT's unique user population. In addition, the ASL can upgrade the network as the number of users and data traffic increase."

The data communications network filled the requirements for flexibility, efficiency and cost, providing several benefits for NYIT users. First, the host selection capability allows any user to access any of the host computers needed to perform specific tasks and connects users to the computers without hardwiring each terminal to a host, which saves money and time in hardware costs. Drace adds that "Any user can get to any computer without us having to hardware each terminal." Second, the equipment provides network control and monitoring, as well as diagnostic capability. Third, the device's speed transparency feature allows the terminals to communicate with the host computers, regardless of the baud rates at which they operate. The equipment will compensate for terminals and host ports operating at different baud rates without requiring operator intervention to match the different speeds.

Because the number of users and the volume of processing required changes constantly, the ASL staff must reconfigure the network when any change occurs. By augmenting the System 355 network processor with the Network Design System (NDS) they can change the network configuration themselves as often as necessary. Such capability and flexibility save time and money. Ability to Upgrade Is Crucial

The ability to upgrade the network will become especially crucial in the future, since NYIT plans significant growth. The ASL plans to add an X.25 gateway interface that will provide users with access to a public data network. ASL staff plan to upgrade the DCA equipment to incorporate the X.25 interface, replacing or augmenting the 205 Unibus-Interface statistical multiplexers and increasing all trunk link rates of 19.2 kb/s.

NYIT plans to expand its research and development efforts, particularly in the area of teleconferencing and computer conferencing. As Morgan Moore, ASL's data processing manager explains, "One major future project will involve providing handicapped individuals withterminals in their homes and allowing them to access the computers. In effect, the ASL will establish a large computer conferencing network for these individuals, increasing their work/study effectiveness."

"Another future project will invove implementing on-line registration and admissions systems that will provide more personalized communication with students and applicants," he adds. With this expansion, DCA's equipment will allow NYIT to accommodate the increased number of remote users and their information processing needs.
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Author:Elliot, D.
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1984
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