Internet access is available at ITS Student Computing Labs, residence halls, Penn State offices, many classrooms, and off-campus locations. In order to use the full range of Internet services, you need a Penn State Access Account. Other than that, the requirements for access vary depending on your location. ITS provides software and support for Macintosh, Windows and Linux computers. If you’re not sure which one you’d like better, try them out in the ITS Student Computing Labs.
Everyone who uses the Internet access services at Penn State has two choices: to connect by a backbone connection or to connect by a modem and phone line.
If you are on campus, use a backbone connection rather than a modem. This type of connection is vastly superior to a modem connection: it’s up to 100 times faster than the fastest modem you can buy—and it won’t tie up your phone line.
Penn State is turning into Penn State Unplugged as more units are providing wireless access. Many offices and departments University-wide are in the process of installing it. The HUB-Robeson Center is one of the most notable. For more details on using wireless service check the Wireless section . For updated listings see http://its.psu.edu/wireless/.
ITS Downloads Web Site
The Web site "downloads.its.psu.edu" provides consolidated access to a variety of up-to-date software packages and updates, and is available to Penn State faculty, students, and staff. The site also integrates the Web version of PAC-ITS and provides easy access to ITS open source software mirror at http://carroll.aset.psu.edu/. For more information and to begin downloading, visit https://downloads.its.psu.edu/. The software products listed are available only to Penn State faculty, staff and students. Thus, the site requires users to authenticate, via Penn State WebAccess, with their respective Penn State Access Account userids and passwords. In addition, some of the products require authentication due to the nature of their licensing agreements and/or for-fee structures. For more information about WebAccess, please see the World Wide Web section of this guide.
Penn State Offices
Please check with your local computer support person before you get started. Your Internet access connection and software may already be in place. If you are not sure who your computer support person is, ask in the administrative offices of your college, department, or campus.
University Park Services
At University Park, ITS provides over 1,344 high speed 56Kbps (V.90) or 128Kbps (ISDN) modems.
All dial-up connections to University Park should be configured with 863-2222 or 865-2222. On campus, dial 8-863-2222 or 8-865-2222. Please note that consumers are responsible for understanding the options and rates provided by telephone service companies. Inquiries or concerns related to charges for the use of dial-up numbers should be directed to local telephone service representatives.
Additional information, details, and dial-up numbers for all campus locations are found at http://css.its.psu.edu/internet/dialup/ and general dial-up modem access information is found at http://css.its.psu.edu/internet/dialup/modem.html.
Questions and requests for assistance related to dial-up services should be directed to ITS Help Desk staff at email@example.com.
Most Penn State locations provide backbone (high-speed direct) connections. For more information, check with your local computer support staff.
Modem Dial-up Phone Numbers
The current dial-up phone numbers for all Penn State locations are listed on the Modem Dial-Up Numbers Web page. Dial-up services and phone numbers are subject to change. The most current information is posted at http://css.its.psu.edu/internet/dialup/ on the Web.
Please check the phone numbers carefully. The number for the campus near your location may not be a local call, so you will have to choose the least expensive number.
Traveling Penn State faculty and staff can use the Penn State Travel Calling Card to connect to University Park modems from anywhere within the continental United States at a low rate (see http://css.its.psu.edu/es/phone/cards/travel.html). Contact your ITS Consultant for more information (see http://css.its.psu.edu/cs/).
Because of continuous changes in the structures and rates of telephone service companies, dial-up numbers may change without warning from a local to a long-distance call. Penn State cannot be responsible for long-distance charges incurred by using dial-up numbers. Consumers are responsible for understanding the options and rates provided by telephone service companies. If you are concerned about charges for the use of dial-up numbers, contact your local telephone company service representative.
The speed you connect with often depends on the quality of phone lines and varies from call-to-call and day-to-day. Many modems can increase or decrease speed as line quality changes. The figure shown (for example, 56 Kbps) is the theoretical maximum speed (in bits per second x1000). Where 56 Kbps (V.90) is indicated, the best usually seen is 48,000.
Dial-up Connection Troubleshooting
After a dial-up connection is established, the connection may occasionally drop. Some tips and techniques for troubleshooting your dial-up connection are available at ftp://ftp.aset.psu.edu/pub/access/doc/drop.txt on the Web. If you experience seemingly random disconnections, read this file before calling for technical assistance.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a secure encrypted network connection. For example, you may want to use a VPN to connect from your third-party Internet Service Provider (ISP) cable modem to Penn State services and resources. All Internet traffic exchanged between your cable modem and Penn State is encrypted via the VPN. A VPN uses encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users access the network and that data is secure. There are several reasons why the use of a VPN is a good idea. These include the following:
Port Blocking for Increased Security
Due to the increasing level of hostile activity and security threats directed toward Penn State’s computing resources, ITS now blocks (filters) selected TCP/UDP ports from the campus border to the Internet. Protective measures began July 28, 2003, and will continue as needed in order to help protect University resources.
This notice is important to those who use a non-Penn State network connection to access Windows and Windows-like file services at Penn State, including the PASS space via the PASS gateway, the UDrive, and shared folders on college, departmental, and private computers.
Traffic using the blocked ports, typically for Windows file and printer sharing, is no longer permitted to pass through the border router in either direction. These services must now be accessed in combination with Penn State Anywhere Virtual Private Network (VPN), a free service that enables your remote computer to appear to be part of the Penn State network. Added benefits of VPN include encryption of all data between your computer and Penn State, as well as easier access to services that are restricted to Penn State IP addresses. Installation packages for the Windows and Macintosh OS X clients have been customized with the setup needs for Penn State users. A valid Access Account is needed to download the VPN client software and use the service.
Unaffected services include on-campus Windows file and printer sharing, dial-up services, and most applications, such as Web servers, mail, remote desktop, FTP, and SSH. For more information visit http://its.psu.edu/notices/ports.html.
This page is part of Your Guide to Information Technology @ Penn State.