Network Connection Management System to Replace NAMS

by Rita Lam
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The Network Connection Management System (NCMS) is a Web-based system that provides a single-stop for registration and maintenance of the network connection database of the campus network. The database contains both data (wired and wireless) and voice (PBX and VoIP) network connections in the Main Campus and the Student Residences. The NCMS was installed to replace the previous NAMS system which was mentioned in the Network Computing article published at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/csc/netcomp/sep2002-6.htm

The followings are the advantages of the NCMS over NAMS:

  1. Provides up-to-date information for maintaining a healthy networking environment

    In addition to the data stored in the NAMS, the NCMS keeps track of network outlets or ports used by all computers on the network. This information is needed to maintain a healthy network environment on the CTNET III. For example, the network administrator can easily detect IP spoofing if an IP address comes from an outlet that is not registered with the particular IP. In the case of virus outbreak, the infected machines can be isolated from the network at the designated network outlets to prevent further spreading of the virus. Users can also check whether a machine has been blocked from using the network.

    This information is also important for the university-wide IT planning including the provision of software upgrades and support, and requisition for software site licenses etc. The information of the operating systems of the computers on the network is also necessary for the CSC to notify system administrators about software patches and security alerts.
     
  2. Streamlining of the registration process

    The following features of the NCMS streamline the registration process:
     
    • Individual staff member or student can now register or cancel their wireless LAN cards with instant approval
       
    • Students in the Student Residences can now apply for network connections in their rooms
       
    • Departmental Network Administrators (DNA) can approve new applications or applications for changes of network connections on Staff LAN, Staff only Internet or Student LAN in one step
       
    • Departmental Phone Administrator (DPA) can approve the installation or requests for changes of phone connections raised by staff members in one step
 
  1. More flexible roles and privileges

    The NCMS has the following features that make the definition of roles and privileges more flexible
     
    • More than one person can take up the role as DNA
       
    • A DNA can be assigned to serve more than one department
       
    • After a user logs on the NCMS with his Electronic ID, the NCMS will show the role and privileges assigned to him/her

Prior to using the NCMS, please check out the following requirements:
    • A valid Electronic ID (email ID)
       
    • MS Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher with JavaScript and cookie enabled
       
    • For best viewing effect, set the display resolution to 1024X768
When the above requirements are met, click Software & Services on the e-Portal logon page. Under the Tools & Utilities for Windows 2000/XP menu, choose Network Connection Management System. A more detailed operation and procedure guide of NCMS can also be found under the same menu.
 
In conclusion, the NCMS has been designed to give staff members and students a single-stop for registering network connections with more ease and flexibility. This in turn will provide a healthier network environment for the entire university.