UIT Strategic Priority: Network Connectivity - University of Houston
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Network Connectivity

OVERVIEW

Faculty, students and staff rely on voice, data and video services to communicate and work on a daily basis. Network connectivity is a core component to any IT service and provides the underlying infrastructure for all voice, data and video.

Supporting the growing demand for ubiquitous Wi-Fi services on campus is paramount. In 2019, over 89,000 unique devices connect to the campus Wi-Fi network each day. In order to improve this service, there must be continued investment in building a robust infrastructure.

Equally important is the need to continue improving the network connectivity to the world and to our research networks, resulting in faster access to applications and increased productivity.

ALIGNMENT

  • With the University — Competitive Resources: UIT works with colleges and divisions to assess their network infrastructure and emerging needs to continuously improve network services, contributing to a mission-critical resource base.
  • With the University — Student Success: UIT strives to ensure the students’ need for a ubiquitous and reliable Wi-Fi network is consistently met.
  • With the UH System — Principles 1 and 9: UIT works with other UHS campuses through the Technology Review program, sharing best practices for design and implementation of wired and Wi-Fi networks. This supports two UHS Principles: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and UHS maximizes the benefit to faculty/staff of being within a system ( Appendix A ).
  • With the State — Reliable & Secure Services: UH wired and Wi-Fi networks address the critical Connectivity part of this TX-DIR strategic goal.

Network Infograph 

CURRENT STATE

  • In 2016, through a comprehensive process, UIT selected Aruba Networks as the network provider.
  • In order to improve Wi-Fi services, the University allocated over $3 million during the last three years for Wi-Fi infrastructure.
  • Since summer 2016, 54 buildings have been upgraded from Meru Networks (legacy manufacturer) to Aruba, providing higher speeds and increasing performance by 40%.
  • A space categorization and prioritization strategy was put in place to first upgrade academic areas, followed by research, social, administrative and outdoor spaces. 100% of academic and research spaces have been upgraded to higher speed Wi-Fi.

PATH TO SUCCESS

  • Sunset the legacy, Meru Wi-Fi infrastructure, which is at the end of its lifecycle and still constitutes 35% of the campus Wi-Fi network. The remaining, mismatched equipment prevents the use of common management and monitoring tools, adding unnecessary complexity and negatively affecting incident resolution.
  • Retire aging distribution and access network hardware. There are 94 distribution switches and 1,417 access switches. Approximately 10% of this UH network infrastructure is due for upgrade.
  • Upgrade network management systems, firewalls and Wi-Fi monitoring tools to maintain vendor support.
  • Upgrade network facilities in all buildings to support 10GB uplinks.
  • Continue to support network growth brought by expansion and capital projects.

FY2020 INITIATIVES

  • Complete the upgrade from Meru to Aruba for all academic buildings (five remaining).
  • Complete the distribution network upgrade to support 10GB uplinks in all network facilities.
  • Upgrade fiber terminations to improve performance and reliability.