Retiring Windows XP

No Windows XP
Microsoft will officially retire Windows XP next week.  This means Microsoft will cease development of security patches for this product. Systems running XP after April 8 will be open to attacks which present significant security risks to individual computers, to any network to which they are connected and to other computers on that network. In almost all cases, UCI systems and any others connecting to UCInet should be upgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8 or should be removed from service.

In the very few cases where business necessity dictates continued use of Windows XP on UCI systems, suitable measures should be taken to protect other systems and users of UCInet. This may involve configuring the XP system’s network connectivity or, in some cases, disconnecting it from the network altogether.  Such measures will depend on the particular system’s situation.  Owners should consult with their local computing support for departmental recommendations.

Those wishing to migrate to a more current operating system can find a discussion of issues and options on OIT’s XP retirement web page.

Conferencing with ReadyTalk

ReadyTalk

OIT offers a versatile teleconferencing solution, ReadyTalk, to faculty and staff.   ReadyTalk is much more than a telephone conference service.  Some of the ways you can use ReadyTalk are described below.

Quick Launcher – Enables conference leaders to initiate an audio conference or a web conference with just 2 mouse clicks. More information and a link to the download are located here http://www.readytalk.com/products-services/integrations/productivity/quick-launcher.

Outlook Scheduler – Meeting organizers can add their ReadyTalk conference login to an Outlook meeting request with a single mouse click.  This is convenient for organizers and the invitation makes it convenient for participants to join a meeting.  Participants can choose to dial into the conference or they can click on a ‘Call Me’ link and have ReadyTalk call and connect them to their meeting. Check out more information and a link to the download here http://www.readytalk.com/products-services/integrations/productivity/outlook-scheduler.

ReadyTalk for Google – Meeting organizers can add their ReadyTalk conference login to Google Calendar meeting request with a single mouse click.  You can download the Google Scheduler here http://www.readytalk.com/products-services/integrations/productivity/google-calendar.

ReadyTalk for Lync – ReadyTalk’s integration with Lync makes it easy to connect with individuals directly from your active directory of contacts.  Right click on any contact to send them a link to join an instant meeting.  For more information: http://www.readytalk.com/products-services/integrations/productivity/microsoft-lync.

Other features of ReadyTalk include:

  • Chairperson dial me:  Conference leaders can choose to dial their conference phone number, access code and passcode in order to access their conference call OR they can choose to have the bridge call out to their phone and connect them to their meeting.  Chairperson dial me is available through the Quick Launcher and within the web conference interface so that you can choose the entry point that is most convenient for you when you host your meetings.
  • Video Conferencing:  Build stronger connections with the individuals you meet with by using ReadyTalk’s video conferencing service for your meetings.  The video conferencing service is offered as a complement to web conferences where attendees need the ability to see each other.  Up to 25 people can attend and see the video streams of up to 4 attendees at any one time. The  video streams can be swapped out so that you can share the video of different individuals throughout your meeting. The service is designed to help IT organizations manage bandwidth utilization across their organization where our service is concerned and to provide adequate real estate for the individuals to review a slide desk, document and other visual content during a meeting.
  • VoIP: In addition to accessing a conference call via telephone, ReadyTalk now offers the option for hosts and attendees to join a conference call via VoIP (using their computer).  Meetings may have a blend of access methods across the spectrum of attendees.  Some individuals may call in by phone and others may use VoIP for the same call.  The chairperson opens a web conference in order to make VoIP available and then individuals can select the access method that is appropriate for themselves. A headset is recommended for our service to ensure the best audio quality experience.

Questions about ReadyTalk can be directed to ReadyTalk Customer Care.

More Features for ReadyTalk

ReadyTalk

ReadyTalk is a telephone/web conference service used throughout the UC system.  All UCI campus departments are eligible to sign up for service. ReadyTalk adds new features as they become available.  In the last few months, the following capabilities have been added.

ReadyTalk for the iPad
Conference participants can access a web conference via their iPad.

iReach integration
Users can easily create and distribute a press release about an upcoming webinar.

Surveys
ReadyTalk enables users to email a custom survey to participants after a webinar.

Video Clip Playback
With video clip playback you can easily upload and stream short video clips to your entire audience providing a rich web conferencing experience.

Guides on how to use these new features can be found on the ReadyTalk web site.

Visitor Access to UCInet Mobile Access

UCInet Mobile Access is UCI’s wireless (WiFi) network, accessible from almost anywhere on campus.  Normally, access to this network is restricted to devices previously registered by their campus (faculty, staff, student) owners.

However, the wireless network includes a system for limited, short-term access by visitors.  Called “Visitor Express Registration,” visitors may connect to the network, agree to certain terms of use, then be connected to UCInet for a 24-hour period up to seven times in a month.  Visitor use of UCInet is restricted to Web, email (IMAP and SMTP), and secure shell (SSH).

If visitors need longer access than Visitor Registration provides, a UCI faculty, staff, or graduate student may register the visitor’s device for up to 4 weeks using manual registration.  The visitor only needs to supply the MAC address.

UCI also supports the Eduroam standard, allowing visitors whose home institution also supports Eduroam to use that network ID to connect to UCInet Mobile Access.

OIT Upgrades Interface to the Internet

border router

Border Router

OIT used the holiday break as an opportunity to upgrade the border router and campus firewall, improving network performance and reliability.  The timing  was chosen to minimize the impact on the campus community who rely on UCInet Internet connectivity.

Prior to this project, UCI had a single system providing the link between UCInet and the Internet, and this device was also responsible for providing the campus firewall service.  This represented a vulnerability, in that hardware failure could result in loss of connectivity.

The border router was also aging, having been put into service in August of 2003, and Cisco had announced the end of maintenance for this model later this year.

The project replaced the components within the border router, added a second border router, distributed Internet services between them, and isolated the firewall service to its own redundant systems.  Tests have demonstrated a significant increase in network bandwidth as well.  Now if one of the two routers should go down, connectivity will be sustained by the redundant architecture of the new system.

The current arrangement also makes use of Cisco’s Virtual Switching System technology, allowing the two routers to be managed as a single service.

An upcoming goal is to house the two border routers in different buildings.  One will remain in Central Plant, and the other will be housed in OIT’s SSPA network vault.  This geographic distribution will further reduce the risk that loss of power or other facilities to a single building could interrupt UCI’s connection to the Internet.