Campus Network Infrastructure Upgrade

As mentioned in a previous blog post, LIS is improving and expanding the campus network.   Step one was to increase the size of our connection to the Internet, which we have done.

The next step is to upgrade the network infrastructure on campus.  This step can roughly be divided into three phases: 1) replace the core network gear in Voter, Davis Family Library and Carr Hall; 2) replace the edge network switches in academic and residential buildings across campus; and 3) replace existing wireless access points in dorms and add new ones.  Obviously, this is a vast oversimplification of what is in fact an extremely complicated project!  (To give just one example, there are 136 different wire closets to be worked on in phase 2, many containing two or more old switches.)

But we are making progress.  Much of the physical installation of the new core equipment is done.  Now, as each academic and residential building gets upgraded, we turn off the routing function for those subnets in the old core router and turn that function on in the new core router.  Finally, we physically move the fiber cables to connect the new edge switch to the new core router.  Most buildings will see a ten-fold increase in network speed when this is done.

On the evening of November 18th, the Donald E. Axinn ’51, Litt. D. ’89 Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library became the first major academic building to be upgraded to the new network environment.  16 new switches were installed in the 6 different wire closets in Axinn, the new fiber cables were connected back to the new core router in Voter, and all of the Ethernet cables were moved from the old switches to the correct ports in the new switches.  The entire process took about 5-6 hours.

Next up is McCardell Bicentennial Hall, which is scheduled to be upgraded over two nights, December 15th and 16th.  MBH has 7 wire closets and we’ll be installing 32 new switches and replacing more than 1000 ethernet cables.

A future post will describe our plans for improving wireless in the dorms.

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