Some computer, phone services to be disrupted

Jessica Burke

The construction in Dinkytown will affect more than automobile traffic this weekend.
On Saturday, fiber-optic cables that control a portion of the University’s computer communications in the St. Paul area will be temporarily disconnected and rerouted. All the cables will be reconnected Sunday.
“All of the Minneapolis campus will be up and running,” said John Miller, assistant director for Network and Telecommunications Services. He said this includes the phone and data systems of the University Hospital and Clinic and the Academic Health Center.
An e-mail message detailing the network outage was sent to all students, faculty and staff earlier this week. There is another message that appears before the main menu for University e-mail accounts.
The Lauderdale Computer Facility, which is located near the St. Paul campus, will be out of service from 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday. It controls some St. Paul phone service, network connections and University e-mail accounts. These services by the facility will be down during those eight hours.
Printing Services’ connection will also be affected. These connections will be down from 11 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Printing Services will lose all phone service and data connections during this time.
Despite these outages, the St. Paul campus will not be greatly affected, Miller said. Most of the regular outgoing phone and network services will not be lost during this time because US West Communications is setting up a back-up system.
Instead of being directly routed to Minneapolis, intercampus calls will be routed through the US West system and then back to the University. This is also how emergency (911) calls will be handled, Miller said.
The St. Paul campus will, however, see a reduction of incoming calls by about 90 percent while the cables are being rerouted.
Miller said the University is cooperating with US West and hopes to have the operations coordinated well enough that when US West finishes, the network and telecommunications workers can immediately put the University’s lines back up.
“It should go pretty easily,” Miller said.
While this downtime has been planned, there have been other instances in which Internet connections have been lost without warning.
Last week, a failed connection between the Twin Cities and Chicago stopped University Internet users from connecting to sites outside Minnesota.
And in July, a fire melted a key fiber-optic cable underneath the Washington Avenue Bridge which resulted in more than 30 hours of downtime. For more information about the network outage, call 625-9045.