The Office of Information Technology (IT), led by the Network Management group, has been working throughout the summer on an extensive, campus-wide network upgrade. The planning for this upgrade began several years ago with a funding strategy, a detailed network design, a procurement, various state-level approvals, etc. The last time a network upgrade of this magnitude was performed was in 2005. For the last several years, bandwidth consumption has been growing exponentially, hence the importance of a robust campus network.
Our primary goal is to replace aging technology and to expand network services with minimal disruptions to users during these upgrade events. When complete, all campus users will see benefits from this upgrade. For example, to meet the growing demand of concurrent network connections, IT Networking will deploy 253 new high-speed network switches. Further, wireless service will be improved with the replacement of 1912 access points.
A key area of focus this summer has been the Data Center on the Oxford campus. This facility houses numerous computing systems that provide the campus with Internet access, myOleMiss, Blackboard, supercomputing and UM Mail (Exchange) services to name a few. Within the Data Center, over 270 server network connections have been upgraded from 1 Gbit/sec speeds to 10 Gbit/sec speeds. Also, security enhancements such as the installation of new firewall services have been deployed.
Another major focus has been enhancements to the networks in the residence halls. IT staff members continue to work diligently to install the many wired connections needed for the additional wireless access points. As the wiring is finished in each area, the wireless systems are updated to add the new access points and join them to the campus network.
Wireless Service Expansion
Besides the infrastructure changes, below are some of the key wireless service enhancements.
– When connecting to UM Wireless, users will see three wireless choices: OleMiss, OleMiss_v2, and Eduroam.
- OleMiss was upgraded and still requires web authentication using a valid UM WebID.
- OleMiss_V2 provides advanced services including an automatic logon to UM Wireless without having to authenticate daily and enhanced security by encrypting the local wireless traffic. WebID authentication will only be required every 90 days. Although the initial setup may require some technical assistance, we expect most individuals with current wireless technology will be able to take advantage of this new offering.
- Eduroam is a service that allows wireless authentication with your existing wireless credentials at other participating universities worldwide. For example, if a faculty member at the University of Kansas visits the University of Mississippi Tupelo campus, the faculty member may connect to UM wireless services with his/her existing University of Kansas credentials because both universities are members of eduroam. Before visiting another institution, check out the eduroam map to see if this service is available. Once confirmed, contact the IT Helpdesk for instructions on how to take advantage of the eduroam service.
– Wireless guest services have been enhanced. Individuals with a UM WebID can still sponsor a guest account. By providing a guest’s cell phone number or email address during the sign-up process, the guest will be automatically sent the necessary credentials.
– Specialty and gaming devices are still supported. Initially, it requires a few steps to take advantage of this upgraded service. Please note: Wireless technology is a shared technology, and performance can vary based upon the number of active users. However, wired connections are dedicated connections without the limitations of sharing.
We recognize the importance of having a stable, central network infrastructure to support the growing demands of staying connected. We appreciate the cooperation from departments as we continue this important and tedious work. More updates will follow as the network infrastructure upgrade continues.
Tags: Network, Network Upgrade, Wireless