Technology Up To Date At Allen

Doug Dunlap is the information technology director at Allen and makes sure all systems are running in the academic buildings and residence halls.

Paul Borcherding

Doug Dunlap is the information technology director at Allen and makes sure all systems are running in the academic buildings and residence halls.

Paul Borcherding, Video Editor

Every college campus has technological needs, advantages, and challenges. Allen Community College has established its own state-of-the-art technology department. Even though Allen has certain technological advances compared to other schools, there is always room for improvements and upgrades.

In the past, students often had problems with their internet speeds because every residence hall was sharing a limited feed of data, resulting in poor internet speeds. In 2015, the college adopted a cloud service in order to improve the network.

Since then, there have been wireless access points in each of the dorms and all over the campus, all connected to the same network. This has improved speeds for the students in recent years.

But those speeds will increase dramatically in November.

In July, Doug Dunlap, the college’s information technology (IT) director, was contacted by the college’s internet provider that they have made a special deal with AT&T that will improve the bandwidth for the buildings and dorms.

“For $4,000 a year more than what we’re currently paying, we can go up from wherever we’re at to a full one gigabyte of internet bandwidth.” Dunlap said. “During November is when we are going to get our bandwidth bumped up to a full gigabyte”

The students, teachers and administrators should expect to see improved internet speeds for their browsing purposes.

Dunlap has been working for Allen Community College for 21 years and has been the IT director for 10 years. He primarily writes reports for the CARS system, used in everything from enrollment to bill payments, develops computer programs for internal use and otherwise manages the network.

“CARS is our system, or software, we use for the student information,” Dunlap said. “it’s all your name, address, what course you’re taking etc. – everything is in one big database.”

The cables that are in overhead baskets across campus have their own story, too. The main campus building was built in 1969 and was not designed for networking. In 2015, these wires were installed to help establish a new network for the campus. As Dunlap said, “We have to do what we have to do.”

As part of the ongoing 2015 IT plan for Allen, a new telephone system was recently installed to replace the outdated phone system. Dunlap described one of his favorite features with the new technology.

“There is a little button that says 2vm and when the phone rings, it sends it directly to voicemail so I don’t even have to answer if I’m working on something else for the time being,” he said.

Even with all the advantages, challenges are still faced with staying up to date. Luckily, the consultants at Peak Uptime, a consulting firm, have helped Allen with its 2015 plan to improve the network. But, everything from the hardware to the computers still have to be checked to make sure they works properly and effectively.

“Allen is very aware of making sure we have the latest technology.” Dunlap said.

Paul Borcherding
The wires overhead were necessitated by the age of Allen’s building and allow for the fastest internet speeds possible.