Systems engineering and Infrastructure Department is responsible for establishing a network infrastructure for all QOU’s locations , to ensure a continuous, reliable, secure and efficient performance of the services with a minimum cost, depending on its highly qualified engineers and technicians of the department. The department seeks to achieve the philosophy of the University represented in e-learning and open education, and to ensure advanced technology to facilitate enrollment in the University’s programs. The department is considered as the nerve system of the University, and the safety valve for it in regard to the use of computers in all sectors of the university and the follow-up of upgrading and developing computerized network technology and systems.
The department mainly aims at designing plans to ensure an integrated technological environment in the University’s operating systems and networks, as follows:
- Ensuring and operating solid technology infrastructure in the University such as efficient internet network;
- Establishing and operating local computer network in every branch and study center in the University starting from supervising and connecting these networks together and into the central network;
- Providing high quality technical support to all University’s Branches, Departments, and Study Centers;
- Ensuring convenient technological environment for the teaching staff and students to benefit from e-learning services, such as internet and e-mail services.
- Providing high-speed lines that serve the applications of the University and connect it to the main control room.
- Ensuring the continuous operation of central devices and networks in all University’s branches.
- Connecting the University’s network with other local and international networks in order to serve research and development.
- Installing and following-up network operation systems and running all related electronic services.
Tasks and duties:
- Preparing technical specifications of the University needs and required programs, and following up official tenders with relevant parties at the University.
- Supervising the implementation of tenders, following-up with the suppliers and carrying out technical checks to ensure compliance with the required technical specifications.
- Following up maintenance contracts with the suppliers.
- Developing the main servers of the University and ensuring its high efficient performance.
- Providing alternative sources of electric power, to ensure the continuous work of servers and hardware.
- Developing computers hardware and accessories, in order to raise the technical efficiency and extend the virtual age.
- Establishing and developing technological infrastructure to cope with the requirements of staff and students in all branches.
- Receiving electronic and phone technical support requests and following up their implementation.
- Documenting all technical and administrative work of the department, in a clear, detailed and comprehensive way.
- Providing the required communication lines whereas the University is provided with two main internet while connecting the University’s branches and Centers with ICTC by extended internet network (LAN), with Information Technology and Communication Center.
- Monitoring and managing the communication lines of the University network.
- Making backup copies of different files types, and restoring them when needed.
- Configuring the infrastructure in the University to fit the requirements of establishing backup alternative center, for the continuous operation of electronic services in case of emergency.
- Providing video conference system, and operating the service between the Branches , ICTC and the Vice President office in Gaza.
- Supervising the establishment of computer labs in all University Branches. There are five available types of labs: labs for computer applications, Internet labs, labs for the visually impaired, telecommunication labs, multi – function labs, and Continuing Education labs.
- Providing live broadcasting service on the internet to ensure communication between students and Faculty members.
- Connecting the University with local and global networks in order to serve research and development.
- Ensuring appropriate environment for students and faculty members to benefit from e-learning environment, providing University’s staff with technological services such as internet, electronic mail and connecting users to the network.
- Providing technical support for University’s technicians and staff in computers, operating systems, networks, and solving urgent problems.
- Supervising the implementation of tasks and activities of the Divisions
- Following up staff compliance with the University’s instructions and regulations.
- Any other duties assigned by the Director of the Center.
- Providing internet services to fulfil the needs of students and supervisors in labs and in all Centers and Branches of the University in 170 Mbps capacity.
- The system includes more than 2,000 accounts including all users (University staff).
- The University depends heavily on the exchange of official electronic correspondences between departments and staff of the University
- Keeping pace with the development of the system on open source systems and providing advanced filtering and protection systems.
Providing well – equipped computer labs at the University. They are the following:
- Computer labs: used for educational purposes, students’ training, assignments solving, in addition to some practical sessions for IT courses.
- Internet labs: The students use these labs o surf the internet, login to QOU Portal, E-mail, and Scientific Research;
- Information and Communication Technology Labs (ICT Labs): Seven labs have been equipped in different Branches of the University. The department provides the needed technical support through providing the required electronic parts and in coordination with local suppliers to provide these parts in accordance to special specifications determined by a specialized engineer at the department
- Multi – purpose labs: these labs were established to enable students use multimedia to access textbooks on cds or tapes. These labs are also used by teaching staff to train students during multimedia courses.
- Continuing Education Labs: These labs are used for conducting computer-training courses for the local community.
- Computer labs for visual impaired students: there are three computer labs equipped to fulfil the needs of visual impaired students. These labs are located in (Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron) Branches and are used by visually impaired persons and not only students of the University.
Virtual Private Network (VPN):
The University in Amman has been included to the intranet through the virtual network (VPN) in order to enhance the concept of electronic communication among all University locations as shown in Figure 1. There are also now vigorous efforts and work to include the University Branches ( Jeddah and Riyadh ) in Saudi Arabia, and we hope that the staff will be able to connect through VPN via the internet from anywhere and access the applications of the University .
ICTC; the central point of the Euro-Mediterranean Network, included one of the ambitious projects at the level of the Palestinian higher education projects, as the Center has been directly connected with the Center of this network in UK, and then the service is distributed from the Center to the rest of the higher education and scientific research institutions in Palestine. Palestine joined the Euro-Mediterranean network in order to raise the scope of cooperation in the academic field and scientific research with these countries, and with the aim of developing the Internet in the area. It is worth mentioning that the European Commission is funding 80% of the project costs estimated at about 10 million euros, while the remaining is to be financed by the twelve member countries participating in this project. Based on a decision by the Higher Education; the line was transferred to the Telecommunications company.
The work in this project had been divided into 3 phases:
First Phase: The preparation phase started in December 2001, it included identifying the digital gap between Europe and the Mediterranean countries as most of the Arab countries do not have direct link with each other in researches and education, which gave this project a great importance about connecting with other European countries and required developing a high speed network between these countries and Europe;
Second Phase: It is the actual developing phase. It started by setting the network qualifications and the habilitation of the service providers. The network was launched in April 2004 and today there are nine Mediterranean countries connected to this network as shown in Figure (2)
Third Phase: Navigate through the link below for information on this phase
Nevertheless, the University is not hosting this network anymore since the establishment of the Palestinian network for education and scientific research.
The first phase had been accomplished and the Video Conference system had been installed and operating among three main cities; Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza from one side and the Presidency of the University (Ramallah /Irsal) from the other side. The project will be accomplished on phases to cover all University Branches.
The current system is Multi-Point Multi-Mode where three Branches can be connected together through telephone lines (ISDN) or internet (IP) and it is possible to use the two techniques simultaneously.
The video conference is used for academic and administrative purposes for example meetings that include Gaza staff are held through video conference, also some lectures are conducted through this system in case of the unavailability of a lecturer in the required filed in some areas .
This project helped to overcome the communication and access obstacles, which are resulted by restrictions on movements between cities and villages imposed by the occupation and to overcome the very strict restrictions to go to Gaza or Jerusalem. In addition, this system is used to communicate with the outside world to hold meetings and give lectures.
FTP server had been installed to transfer big files, which cannot be sent via email. This server contains a lot of useful materials and textbooks. It has also more than 140 educational videos in different fields. Students from all Branches can access the site to download the files. The server has also many materials that are useful for the University staff.
The University provides live broadcasting service as a one of the solutions that it provides to ensure communication between the students and the teaching staff and overcome distances and geographical Obstacles. The University received some equipment from UNESCO as part of of Ibn Sina virtual University project. The most important of this equipment is the Encoder of the live broadcast of the courses and it is considered one of the supporting tools to serve the e-learning. The University also received two high-tech video cameras for live broadcasting of activities and lectures. Figure (5) shows the direct broadcast of the courses.
Features of the system
- The ability to handle big loads on the network.
- The ability to recognize the connection speed of users to transfer data according to the speed.
- It can be used "for broadcast on demand."
- It can be used for interaction between users through text and video chat.
- Contains lines Capacity checker (Bandwidth Checker) and (Secure Token)
- (Multicasting) can be quickly applied on the network.
- Very high compatibility with (Adobe Flash Encoder).
Establishing an internal network that serves more than 51 computer labs, 21 internet labs, 13 multi-purpose labs, 7 Communication and Information Technology labs, 3 labs for Continuing Education, 3 labs for persons with visual impairment in addition to more than 3100 computers distribute in different premises of the University for educational and administrative purposes. The following Figure shows the structure that is used to connect the locations of the University to each other.
Users’ management system
Providing central access to the devices and sharing files among users
Providing operating systems (Linux and Window) for all applications.