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Ring around the campus:

In a world that is becoming increasingly dependant on technology, the reliability of online resources is of the utmost importance.

This summer, work began on a two part project to upgrade Eastern’s network.

The first part is the installation of a fiber optic ring that will run around campus. Benjamin Davis, Network and Systems Assistant Administrator, said that the ring will increase bandwidth by using newer fiber optics so that “more information can travel quicker around campus.”

Eastern currently has a multi-mode fiber optic system, which uses LED light to transmit data, with two main runs from McInnis to Ott and from McInnis through Fowler to Gallup. 

The former serves the south side of campus while the latter serves the north side.

According to Davis, the maximum bandwidth is 1 GB/s to each network closet.

The upgrade will be able to support 10 GB/s and can potentially support up to ten times that because it is a single mode fiber optic system which uses laser light to transmit information.

“This will increase bandwidth between buildings,” Davis said. “Each network closet will have two connections to McInnis. It helps for expansibility.” 

If Eastern wants to add a new building, then the network can still stay up during construction because it is connected in two directions instead of just one.

The ring will be able to support new technologies such as video streaming and Voice Over Internet Protocol phones.

A video camera set up in the gym to broadcast chapel and sports games could stream online so that students can keep up with the action if they have class or work.

A major benefit is that Eastern’s network will experience less downtime.”The slow point is not our connection to the web, but our connections between our switches and that’s what this project addresses,” Davis said. “It’ll increase your speed, but you’re still reliant on the internet networks throughout the world.”

In other words, there will still be web pages that load more slowly than others because they are on different networks in different geographic locations.

The second part of the project involves updates and upgrades to the network closets. Davis said that there will be “bigger cabinets and new patch panels” in order to create better airflow so the equipment will last longer.

There will also be UPSs, or Uninterruptible Power Supplies, which will keep the network up in case of power outages until the various generators on campus start up.

As the system is installed, there will be downtime in the residence halls. The project is expected to be finished by the end of October or early November.

 

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