Thursday, June 29, 2017

Later this year IST will be starting an upgrade of the campus network Ethernet switching and routing infrastructure.  This will be the first upgrade of this equipment since IST assumed responsibility for campus wide network management, in 2011.  Much of the switching and routing equipment is approaching 10 years old.  As with the campus WiFi upgrade a few years ago, all equipment for the switch upgrade will be centrally funded, and IST staff will perform all of the work involved, coordinating with faculty/departmental IT staff and others as needed.   IST will provide regular updates on the planning, and work, through the Computing Technology Services Committee (CTSC) and University Committee on Information Systems and Technology (UCIST).

This provides, for the first time, a complete end-to-end campus design built from the ground up with scalability and quality of service (QoS) at the forefront. The design will have the ability to incrementally improve redundancy, reliability and robustness for the users. The selected equipment further positions IST to investigate and deploy more advanced technologies such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) for more flexible deployments with increased performance and efficiencies or MACsec (IEEE 802.1AE) for data confidentiality and integrity. All this can be accomplished while still maintaining a standard and supportable design across the campus as a whole including satellite locations.

In addition to providing full Power over Ethernet+ (IEEE 802.3at) and standard 1 gigabit per second (gbps) connection to all devices [1,2] the equipment can accommodate additionally complex and varying requirements that may arise from faculty, staff and researchers such as multigigabit ethernet (mGig, IEEE 802.11bz). All of the increases offered by the upgrade will be accompanied by a reduction in power usage through a combination of modern equipment, "Green Initiatives" such as Energy Efficient Ethernet (IEEE 802.3az),  EnergyWise, and a deployment model that pre-activates fewer network jacks (only actively used or likely to be used jacks are initially pre-connected to networking equipment. Any jack that is not active will be easily identified and blocked with a lock-out device. IST has committed to a one-hour turnaround time to activate these drops on request.)

While many users use wireless, a switched network environment still provides the foundation to support WiFi, servers, desktop computing, research computing, VoIP telephony and infrastructure services such as access control, surveillance systems, HVAC and building automation and with the advancement of the Internet of Things, their integrations.

[1] where supported by cabling infrastructure based on auto-negotiation of hardware

[2] Category 5 (cat5) cabling will be located and identified during this project with upgrades to category 6 (cat6a) occurring at a later date

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