Computing Environment



College Network Access

Computer Labs

The College maintains computers and laser printers for student use in 4 computer labs. The labs are located in the Library, the Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE), room 823, and room 18-43. The lab in room 823 is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The computers are installed with Microsoft XP Professional, Microsoft Office, and the Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers. All of the campus computers have Internet access. All of the labs are equipped with Laser Printers.

Residence Halls

The College offers T-1 Internet access to residence hall students. Students need to provide their own computers, software, and hardware to connect to the network, and will be required to follow some basic security guidelines to use the network. We use a standard TCP\IP network with hard-wired connections in each room so nearly all personal computers will be compatible.

Wireless Hotspots

The College also has wireless access on campus. The wireless hotspots are located in the Library, Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), Alumni Hall, Commuter Lounge and the Cafeteria.

You will need an 802.11b, 802.11g, or a combination 802.11b/g wireless network card to access. New laptops generally come with these cards installed, but add on cards are available from your computer manufacturer and most computer and electronics stores.

The student wireless network is an open, unsecured, wireless network service. It does not encrypt data. Therefore, information sent across the wireless network is "in the clear." Others might snoop or intercept data transmitted using the unsecured wireless service.

Personal Computers

Personal Computers on Campus

The choice of computer is up to the user. Desktop computers are generally the least expensive and most easily customized, while laptops are more portable. Almost all modern operating systems will work fine. We recommend Microsoft Windows Vista or XP, Apple OS X, or LINUX/UNIX.

If you have any questions concerning your computer or computer purchase, please feel free to call us at 617-236-5464, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Basic Computer Requirements
To be allowed on the Fisher College Network, all student computers need to follow these basic connection requirements:
  • A laptop or desktop computer
  • Operating system support for TCP/IP and DHCP
  • Ethernet Network Interface Card compatible with your computer and operating system
  • Active Anti-virus software with a full year's subscription
  • Valid operating system
  • A virus and operating system patch inspection by the IS Dept.

The Ethernet interface is often included in new computers, but an add-on card can generally be installed. If needed, the add-on card can be purchased at most computer and electronics stores and should be specified as a ""10/100"" or ""10Base-T/100Base-T"", Cat5 or Twisted Pair or UTP, Ethernet adapter. Desktop adapters will be further qualified as PCI or ISA compatible, laptop/notebook adapters usually are PCMCIA. These adapters are not interchangeable; be sure to purchase one appropriate for your computer. Desktop adapters range in price from about $10-$50, PCMCIA adapters range from about $30-$90 but for typical usage the less expensive cards are appropriate. USB Ethernet adapters are also available. Your residence hall room will have sufficient Ethernet outlets or ""ports"" for each roommate. To connect to it, you will need a Cat5 or Cat5e cable, terminated with RJ-45 connectors, long enough to safely span the distance between your computer and the outlet (less than 14' usually). These cables are readily available from most computer and electronics stores and will also be available at the College Bookstore.

Network & E-mail Login

Each enrolled student will be granted both e-mail and network accounts. User names, passwords and connection details will be distributed at New Student Orientation.

Your e-mail address will generally be in the form of:

<first initial><lastname>

In a few instances there will be a slight variation from this form, for example:

If Fisher College has three people named Jane Smith, then one will be jsmith, another will be jsmith1 and the last will be jsmith2.

If you have any connection or addressing issues, contact the department immediately.

E-mail can be sent and received at

Computer Security

Computer Security Concerns

The Internet is plagued by a growing number of computer viruses and worms, the most dangerous of which can modify or even delete data from your computer while even the most benign can so severely affect the performance of a computer or network as to make it virtually unusable. Since it is possible for only a few infected systems to overwhelm the entire network, we must inspect each student's computer before allowing access. We also maintain a firewall on the network that will not allow connections to many network services (file-sharing and gaming services especially). We do this to address security and bandwidth concerns. While we strive for balance between individual convenience and overall security and utility, we may often err in favor of the network. Should this cause too much inconvenience, please contact the IS Department and we may be able to accommodate you.

We require that each computer have up-to-date antivirus software and operating system patches installed. We have found Symantec Norton Antivirus ( to be the easiest to use and most reliable, though other programs will work: McAfee VirusScan ( and TrendMicro AntiVirus ( to name just two. All of these programs require annual subscription fees to maintain up-to-date virus protection. Many new computer systems are sold with antivirus software installed but will be enabled with a short-term subscription. Check your expiration date! Antivirus software can usually be configured to automatically check with the manufacturer for updates when an Internet connection is available. Whether it is an automatic or manual process on your computer it should be completed (and verified) at least once per week. The software should also be configured to scan all files whenever they are accessed. For additional peace of mind a ""complete system scan"" should be run periodically.

Many of the viruses and worms now available take advantage of flaws in popular operating systems (Microsoft Windows, Apple/Mac, Linux). To prevent their spread (and intrusion on your computer) you need to keep your system up-to-date. Microsoft offers a ""Windows Update"" system accessible through the program menu, Microsoft Internet Explorer, the Control panel or by browsing to Apple also provides operating system updates which are accessible through system preferences or by opening the apple menu and clicking Software Update. These systems can be configured to automatically update your computer when an Internet connection is available or can be run manually. Either way you should check for updates at least once per week. Some Linux vendors offer similar services but their use varies widely.

We also recommend the installation and use of spyware removal software. Spyware includes web cookies and other data-mining objects and can attempt to collect personal or other sensitive information from your computer and communicate this information to unknown parties. Spyware can also ""hijack"" your web browser, slow down your computer and network connections, and generally make your computing life miserable. The most effective applications to combat this are SpyBot: Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware . These are free to non-commercial end-users, frequently updated, and should be used together.

In the course of our inspection, we are interested in your computer's operating system version and patch condition, and the presence of a current, anti-virus application that can be updated.

There are a few things you can do just before packing your computer for shipping to Fisher College that will dramatically speed up the process:

  • If you use Microsoft Windows XP or Vista, make sure your operating system can be updated! If the system has not been ""registered"" with Microsoft and you do not have a valid registration key, it cannot be patched and we will not allow it on the network. You will need to purchase a valid system license before we will allow network access.
  • Make sure you have installed the latest Operating System updates.
  • Make sure your anti-virus software is updated and that your anti-virus subscription lasts the duration of the semester. If you need to re-subscribe to an update system try to do so before you arrive on campus.
  • Run a complete (all files, all hard-drives) anti-virus scan just before bringing your computer in for inspection.

If a system appears to be in good working order, we will simply need to verify its condition and you will be allowed network access fairly quickly. Otherwise, we will need to ensure that all the above criteria have been met. This can be a very lengthy process, and may take several hours to complete.


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