University Park, Pa. -- Just as the Emergency Broadcast System periodically runs tests on radio and television stations, Penn State plans to test the PSUTXT text-messaging system to help ensure its functionality in a true emergency. At 1 p.m. on Feb. 23, PSUTXT administrators from each campus will log into the system and send a message that will be marked clearly as a test.
"Testing the system like this does a number of things," explained Annemarie Mountz, assistant director of Public Information. "While many Penn State campuses have had to send PSUTXT messages to announce class delays and cancellations this winter, others have not used the system in quite a while. This test will give PSUTXT administrators at all campuses the opportunity to review the procedures for sending a message. It also has benefits for subscribers and those who believe they are subscribed but never validated their subscriptions."
There are a number of subscriptions in the system that remain unvalidated. "These people have not yet successfully completed the validation process, so they are not set up to receive PSUTXT messages although they may think they are. This test will help to make those people aware that their PSUTXT accounts are not active and they need to complete their subscription validations," Mountz said.
Validation is necessary for subscriptions to become active to ensure that those receiving the messages actually want them and that nobody has subscribed them without their knowledge. It also confirms that the cell phone number and carrier information was entered correctly so messages can be delivered to the subscriber.
This particular test will involve having PSUTXT administrators from 23 Penn State campuses log into the server simultaneously and send SMS and e-mail messages to nearly 90,000 subscribers, putting as much strain on the vendor's servers as possible to test their ability to handle the load. The vendor, e2Campus, also will be able to use the results of the test to check for any problems with connections to cell providers.
"Text message aggregators in general experienced some issues with a connectivity to carriers such as Verizon Wireless in recent weeks. This test will help confirm that the carrier bind connectivity is working properly," said Eric Polovich of e2Campus.
Those who receive the test message on Feb. 23 do not need to take any action. Anyone who initiated a subscription to PSUTXT but does not receive the test message on Feb. 23 should log into the PSUTXT system by going to http://live.psu.edu/psutxt online. Penn State students, faculty and staff should click on the WebAccess link near the top of that page to login or to create an account using their Penn State access account ID and password. Anyone without a Penn State access account should login or create an account at http://live.psu.edu/psutxt online.
"Once logged in, they should update their cell phone information, and then click on 'Services' to have a new validation code sent," said Mountz. "Once they receive the validation code, they need to enter it on the registration page on the Web site to complete the process and validate their accounts."
Subscribers who continue to have difficulty validating their account should visit http://omnilertsupport.com/e2campus/ online.
For more information, send an e-mail to AMountz@psu.edu.