Out with cable, in with open ports for Xbox

Being back on campus after spending a year in Spain as part of the Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) program, I couldn’t help but notice a few changes took place whilst away.

Rees lobby no longer looks like the living room of a 1980s sitcom. Engle Hall now displays an outdoor fireplace. Girls habitate Culver, though you probably already knew that.

But the changes you might not be aware of are the removal of cable TV from the dorms, and the opening of ports for Xbox and other gaming consoles.

What do open ports mean?

Computer science major James Clague explains, “A network port is basically a doorway for Internet connections. Your web browser loads pages using a connection through a particular doorway (port) while different programs like Google Drive go through other doorways (ports) to get to your device. Basically, if a program tries to connect through one of those doorways and it’s closed, nothing happens.”

How does that apply to students? Essentially, Clague believes in a free and open internet, which is why he, with the aid of Student Services vice president Kim Canine, proposed to open the ports. Before, students were prohibited from playing Xbox due to closed ports, but now students can game freely into the wee hours of the night (not on school nights, of course).

So, why remove cable?

Who doesn’t like flipping on the television and watching the Adventist Broadcasting Network (ABN) on a Friday night with the homies? Okay, that might just be me, but still. Who wouldn’t want to watch the NBA finals with the new and improved New York Knicks playing against Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors?

IS Director Richard Henriques explains it simply. He says the school was paying somewhere around $50,000 annually for cable service. That, coupled with my observation that I usually watch TV by myself in the dorm, supports my conclusion that only a small minority of the student population used said service.

Henriques also explains most all programs on cable can be streamed via the Internet, thanks to online streaming platforms like Hulu, Roku, Chromecast or Apple TV.

So, before you race off to hook-up your Xbox (or whichever console), listen to these words of wisdom from the IS Director: “Remember to wire these devices directly to the network—which will give better performance—instead of using wireless,which will take valuable bandwidth from portable devices that need it.” With that being said, play responsibly.

Sean Hendrix is a senior studying biomedical science.