Virginia Tech Reports on IT Performance During Shootings

An internal review of Virginia Tech's information and communications infrastructure in the wake of the April shootings found that the campus telecommunication systems were "dramatically stressed during the initial response period but performed adequately," according to a report in The Roanoke Times.

The review, led by E.L. Blythe, vice president of information technology, also noted that the campus infrastructure "experienced degradation during the response," including cellular telephone systems, the Public Switched Telephone Network, and emergency responder radio communications.

VT president Charles Steger had asked for reviews of the "strengths and weaknesses of our existing systems/infrastructure and how they may be improved or augmented to address emergency situations that might arise in the future." The IT review was done by one of several committees charged with various aspects of the incident.

The report said that local cellular networks became congested and blocked calls during the initial response period to the shootings, according to the Times. It also found "deficiencies in interoperability and coverage of police, fire, and rescue radio communications."

The committee's report concluded with two major strategy recommendations, according to the Times.

First, the university "should develop a new information architecture designed from the ground up for resiliency, performance, applications integration and ubiquitous access."

Also, Virginia Tech "should cooperate with community and regional emergency response agencies for the development of a fully interoperable mobile communications system with advanced capabilities."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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