Last summer, Network and Classroom Services (NCS) began a
project that will replace building switches throughout UB’s
campuses, increasing building bandwidth and speed to the university
network and Internet.
Network switches in nearly 90 buildings across UB's three
campuses will be updated. A network switch acts as a controller,
receiving and distributing messages from connected network links
throughout the building and university as a whole. Once completed,
each building will have a pair of 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps)
network links installed, replacing the existing 1 Gbps links. Total
bandwidth will increase to 20 Gbps in and out.
Overall, the project will do a lot to help UB’s Computing
and Information Technology (CIT) group thanks to improvements
regarding redundancy, resiliency and reliability. The update will
increase the number of power supplies in each switch from one to
two, providing a presently-absent backup if one supply should fail.
It will also swap out the current Nortel switches with Cisco
switches to accompany the other Cisco equipment currently used by
CIT. The move will make many aspects of maintenance and support
much easier and allow very little room for error.
Three buildings (Computing Center, Fronczak Hall and the
Educational Opportunity Center) were tested as pilots during May
and June 2013. "[Being in the Computing Center,] it gives us a good
opportunity to be the guinea pigs," said Joe Pautler, Senior
Network Engineer for Network and Classroom Services (NCS). "We're
really sensitive to any network issue or blip, so we could notice
it right away and quickly respond to it."
The pilot project was a success, and the list of remaining
buildings has been divided into two phases. Phase one began with
UB’s on-campus apartment complexes (South Lake Village, Flint
Village, Hadley Village and Creekside Village) at the beginning of
“Everything is in place to 'hit the ground running' as
soon as our semester startup/change freeze window comes to an
end,” said Joe.
Buildings and student housing that require the most network
connections will be updated first. “It’s the bang for
the buck. The switches will be rolled out to where the most
[people] will be using them first,” said Joe.
Phase two is expected to continue seamlessly once the first
phase is completed, which is tentatively scheduled to end in May
2014. See the current schedule.