Network Enhancement

During the Fall 2010 STEP cycle, the STEP Council voted to fund two major projects that will have a significant impact on the University's network and the institution's ability to expand voice, data, and video services to the campus community.

The current University data network has equipment that is obsolete and has provided service beyond its manufactured declared end-of-life.  The existing University data network lacks the processor speeds and memory to handle 2008 traffic loads which are much lower than the load that will be put on the network in the next 2 or 3 years.  This Project is aimed at enhancing the reliability, function, and speed of the data network through the replacement of network equipment at the distribution layer and enhancing the physical layer of the network by introducing redundant fiber pathways to create a more reliable system. 

Additionally, this enhancement to the network infrastructure would allow the University to make improvements to other areas of the network, such as implementing a Voice over IP solution to the existing traditional telephone system, which will provide savings to all University departments.  An improvement of this type will enable the University to move towards more unified communications by eventually integrating desk and cell phones, faxes, voicemail, text messages, and multimedia messages.

The added redundancy reduces the possibility that a single failure of a physical link will cause a major portion of the network to become unavailable for an extended period of time.  This improvement in availability and reliability will allow the addition of services such as Voice Over IP (VOIP), Video Services, and Distance Learning Services.  Once the equipment is installed, we will improve the network through routing.  ‘Redundant’ pathways will become ‘additional’ pathways which will have the effect of increased bandwidth to ‘adjacent’ areas.

The project goal is to evolve the current network from layer two to layer three.  The current core and distribution equipment which is operating at layer two will be replaced with faster devices that can operate as both layer two and layer three devices simultaneously.  The core and distribution equipment will migrate to a distributed core topology and will evolve to a layer three network for redundancy and resiliency.

Project Phases:

  • Phase 1 - equipment purchase, shipping and staging on location.
  • Phase 2 - each location will be a flash cut and the equipment removed and replaced.
  • Phase 3 - additional fiber runs are utilized to turn up a layer three network.
  • Phase 4 - migrate the traffic from the existing paths to the new layer three paths.
  • Phase 5 - convert all layer two paths to layer three.

Project Milestones:

  • Electrical Circuits/HVAC Room Upgrades - 07/2010
  • Network Equipment ordered and installed - 11/2010
  • District and Zone interconnections - 12/2010
  • Creation of new fiber ring - 02/2011
  • Acquisition and installation of centralized management software - 06/2011
  • New 10GE Network Interfaces ordered - 01/2012
  • Increase speed of new fiber ring to 10GE - 03/2012
  • Additions to new fiber ring for path redundancy and inter/intra zone communications - 04/2012
  • New Zone routers installed, configued and provisioned - 05/2012
  • Selection of new network equipment standards - 06/2012
  • Migration of buidlings to new network - 01/2013 - 07/2014
  • Alignment of standards with construction projects and Master Plan agenda