By Mitchell Garrett
We live in a world where Internet access was recently declared as a human right.
On college campuses, students would likely notice their Internet going out before they would notice if it started to rain.
When it was announced there would be an Internet service disruption on Thursday, February 26th, students and faculty wondered if it was really necessary to change IP addresses.
IP addresses are a critical part of Internet access which few people really even know what they do, or sometimes that they even exist.
To connect to the Internet, a computer (or any other device) must have a public IP address.
The Internet works a lot like our postal system. When you send a letter, you have an address, and a return address.
When the other person gets your letter, they can reply back to your return address.
Without IP addresses, Internet access is not possible.
Now, previously we had our Internet provided by IdeaTek, but when a larger provider bought IdeaTek’s networks, the IP addresses on the network changed.
Loren Morris, director of information technology services, said, “Our Internet Service Provider was bought, so now we need to change IPs.
We have no choice. If we do not, we are going to lose Internet access soon. IPs are how people find us, and they won’t be able to find us on our current addresses.”
Different parts of the Internet on campus are affected in different ways and different severities.
Glen Acheson, assistant director of IT services said, “The problem is going to be the DNS servers. Some stale DNS don’t refresh that often, so both the new and old system will be active.”
A DNS is like the Internet’s post office. Until the DNS updates to our new addresses, some parts of the Internet won’t work correctly.
Older DNS servers can take as long as 48 hours to update, but Glen said, “It won’t take that long, updates times have come down a lot over the last couple of years.”
The IT Services department made sure to limit the downtime caused by the transition, to make it as seamless and painless as possible for our students and faculty.