Last year, ICTO has completed an upgrade of the campus core network infrastructure. This was the first upgrade of the equipment since the completion of the new campus in 2013. These switching and routing equipment are approaching their end of life. The number of users in new campus has increased rapidly in the past few years, the campus core network has been reaching its capacity limit. To support the escalating need for network capacity, the upgraded core network shall serve the need of the core campus network for the next five years.

In order to avoid significant impact, this upgrade project was divided into 3 phases carried out in spring, summer and fall 2017. The project had a very tight schedule since it was targeted to finish the network migration onto the new infrastructure within summer break. Nevertheless, ICTO has successfully minimized the impact on the users.

This upgrade provides the campus core network capacity upgraded from 10Gbps to 40Gbps as well as several advanced features including but not limited to 10G Ethernet, Native IPv6, Security Control and Network Access Control. In addition to providing new capacity, the 40Gbps core network capability offers opportunities to high-throughput interconnect to our teaching buildings and Internet service.

This new design is aimed at gradually reducing redundancy, improving network reliability and robustness. The selected equipment allows ICTO to explore and deploy more advanced technologies such as SDN for flexible deployments of dynamic bandwidth management or VxLAN for higher scalability across UM campus. All of these can be accomplished while the security standard and structural design across the campus as a whole are maintained.

Another benefit offered by the upgrade is the approximately 50% reduction in power usage through a combination of modern technology called “Intelligent EMS Engine System” which dynamically control the power consumption and noise by deactivate non-connected network jack and collect the device temperature to calculate the minimum requirement of fan speed.

The campus core network is considered as the heart of the entire UM campus network infrastructure. It is the foundation to support WiFi, servers, desktop computing, research computing, IP telephony and facility services such as access control, surveillance and building automation systems. The campus network infrastructure upgrade is a continual process. The lifecycle refresh of network hardware is critical to the sustainability of the campus network in long run.

More detailed technical information about this upgrade project can be found on ICTO Newsletter Issue 8 published in 2017.