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New network core improves speed and resiliency

ITS Communication Technologies upgraded the University’s networking core to provide more reliable and faster transport for traffic between different parts of campus, including between classrooms, departments and the data center.






ITS switched over to upgraded core routers from Cisco System in August 2017. Despite multiple changes, the new campus core went live without noticeable customer impact.

Campus demand has escalated with the upsurge in use of mobile devices, video and big-data applications. The network core that ITS had been using since 2006 provided bandwidth of 20Gbps (billions of bits per second). A new network core was needed to provide better redundancy, more flexibility and much higher bandwidth.

Danny Shue

The new core supports 160Gbps bandwidth, said Danny Shue, Network Architect with Network Operations, a group within Communication Technologies. He managed the upgrade. With the current 160Gbps campus backbone capacity, ITS enabled full 160Gbps connectivity to main campus core for main campus users and departments. ITS also enabled 80Gbps connectivity to campus department-hosted services in the ITS data centers in ITS Franklin and ITS Manning — a dramatic increase from the 10Gbps previously. In addition, ITS enabled 160Gbps connectivity to the backbone from both the ResNET network and the campus wireless network — a jump from 20Gbps before the upgrade.

Mike Whitfield of ITS completing a Cisco Nexus installation at ITS Franklin

To understand the difference that additional bandwidth can make, one only needs to compare download speeds of a video. Downloading a 5 GB movie over a 20Gbps link takes 2,000 milliseconds. With the bandwidth capacity of 160Gbps, the time shrinks to 250 milliseconds.

In the next step of CommTech’s  plan, the division will enable 160Gbps connectivity to a new ITS datacenter core in both ITS Franklin and ITS Manning. This will enable ITS to implement a new datacenter design that will provide better resiliency and faster speed for ITS services in the the datacenter. CommTech also will enable 160Gbps connectivity to the School of Medical and 80Gbps connectivity to ITS Research Computing.

Key Partner(s): All University schools & departments
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