IT News

Curative Analysis: ‘Own IT’ Update for September 2016

The Curative Analysis team in IT is tasked with finding the causes of significant IT issues that affect campus. In this news update, we draw your attention to some of the problems being investigated or issues handled recently.

Wireless Devices BroadcastingA sharp increase in wireless devices emitting signals in the residence halls is causing excessive radio noise on the WCU wireless network and preventing some students from being able to connect to the WCU wi-fi. A recent snapshot of the lobby area in Scott Hall demonstrates the amount of radio noise being sent from wireless printers, routers, gaming consoles, and streaming devices:

Radio Noise

IT has started a communication campaign to remind students to turn off their wireless devices when not in use.  Announcements have been posted on social media and flyers have been posted in all residence halls.  IT plans to distribute a public service announcement (PSA) video on social media and digital signage and is currently in discussion with other schools in the UNC system who are also facing this issue.  Additional updates will be provided as we make additional progress towards tackling this problem.

Windows OS computer slowness: Reports were received from Faculty and Staff working on WCU computers running the Windows OS of continued slowness in logging into the systems. These reports started shortly after the System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) software was updated with recently released patches from Microsoft.   This update increased the amount of information that SCEP stores when the application scans the computer, which normally occurs on startup. This scan along with the Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) scan being performed was responsible for the decrease in computer performance.

A group of IT analysts and technicians was created to investigate the issue and charged to find a solution. The team made the decision to adopt SCEP as the standard, supported anti-virus solution for WCU and to retire SEP.  Using remote installation tools, IT has installed SCEP on all Windows computers as well as Macs and uninstalled any remaining instances of SEP. For work-at-home and personal use, Avira anti-virus is provided at no cost to all active faculty, staff, and students of WCU by visiting http://avira.wcu.edu.

Single Sign-on AccessOn several occasions, faculty, staff, and students reported an error when attempting to log into applications which use the Shibboleth application for single sign-on access. These applications include, but are not limited to OU Campus, AlcoholEdu, PeopleAdmin, and UNC Online. The error message: “SSO profile is not configured for relying party” was displayed when a login attempt was made.

Microsoft plans to release a new version of the single sign-on application, ADFS this fall which will offer new features that allow connectivity of ADFS to InCommon and the UNC federation. Only a few WCU systems continue to use the Shibboleth application, and most of our systems already use Microsoft’s ADFS. The Division of IT plans to move the remaining systems which use Shibboleth to ADFS shortly.

August 1 – August 31, 2016
Global Problems: (Total 16)
Business Systems (Banner INB, Banner Report Portal, 5th Week Attendance): 6
WCU Wireless Network: 4
PAW Print: 3
Panopto: 1
VCAT:  1
OU Campus (Web Editing and Publishing):  1

The Division of IT is committed to adopting a proactive, process-oriented approach to prevent problems before they arise. We will continue to keep you informed on our progress.