João Paulo Valbom, Coordinator of the IT Center at the Polytechnic of Guarda, reflects on the positive impact of the IPG's connection to the national research and teaching network at 100 Gpbs (RCTS100* Project), also highlighting the role of the Unit's digital services FCCN in the day-to-day life of the academic community: "The digital services and projects provided by FCCN to the academic community have always been fundamental".

What is the significance and impact of the activation of the connection of the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda to the national 100 Gbps education and research network?

The massification of the use of technology and the exponential increase of electronic devices (tablets, phones, laptops, etc) has been in recent years a huge challenge for all higher education and, in particular, the Polytechnic of Guarda is no exception. This leads to a latent need for a larger bandwidth that ensures a better and higher quality in the provision of various digital services for users of the academic community.

In this sense the connection of the Polytechnic of Guarda to the national network of education and research at 100Gpbs is essential to meet the needs of supplying the various services available to many users, and it is now possible to provide a higher quality service and in some aspects more effective, since the increased bandwidth allowed to support more users simultaneously with high quality service.

In parallel, there was a need to adapt the technological infrastructures to the new reality, which led to a profound technological restructuring in terms of computer network connectivity, making it faster and more energy efficient, and in terms of computer security, making it more secure.

At the academic level, these changes allowed for a very significant improvement in the quality of service provided, essentially by imposing distance learning and hybrid models in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this upgrade it became possible to have available a new reality of videoconferencing systems, with advanced technology in terms of image and audio, which allows meetings between multiple people quickly and effectively: whether for distance learning, online training, lectures or to watch multimedia content with high definition.

What importance and impact do the digital services and projects of the FCCN Unit have on the day-to-day life of the IPG community?

The digital services and projects provided by FCCN to the academic community have always been fundamental to the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda. Today, they are even more important in the various digital approaches. In a particularly difficult period, given the pandemic, when there was a need to redefine the teaching model towards fundamentally online teaching, the Colibri service was fundamental in this approach. Thanks to Colibri, it was possible to quickly change the paradigm from face-to-face teaching to an online teaching model, supported by other services such as RCTSaai, Filesender, NAU, among others.

Another key service for any higher education institution is eduroam, which guarantees connectivity anywhere there is this network, making it essential for students physically on campus or on the move.

b-on also has a special relevance for our academic community, by allowing simplified access to a very large set of document and information repositories of enormous value to our students and faculty, thus promoting increased digital literacy.

Many other services such as RCTS-CERT, RCTS-Certificates, RCTSaai, RCAAP, PTCRIS, CIÊNCIAVITAE and CIÊNCIAID, Videocast, Educast, Nau, are essential to the daily work of our institution, and the increase in bandwidth has also increased and improved their usage.

  • Project co-financed by the Operational Technical Assistance Program, Portugal 2020 and the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund.

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