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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.