UNC-Chapel Hill’s network has reached the 20-year milestone.

Attendees of the CTC Retreat in October celebrated the anniversary with cake as well as a trip down memory lane via Jim Gogan, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Communication Technologies at Information Technology Services. Gogan, who has worked for the University nearly twice as long as the network has operated, recalls that the entire campus was “dug up for several years” while fiber was being installed. Fiber construction began in 1995. The first Carolina buildings went live on fiber in January 1996.

Significant momentum in 1992

Prior to 1992, there was no requirement for new-building wiring standards. Carolina had no consistent technology within buildings, and pre-fiber backbone capacity was limited to five megabits per second.

Before 1996, the campus had no fiber backbone and within-building wiring was limited. English, Classics, Communication Studies had no networking capabilities. Some 60 buildings used cable TV technology.

University’s early network was innovative

By 1997, all University buildings had fiber. In March 1998, the initial proprietary virtual local area network (VLAN) was deployed in prototype mode for south campus residence halls. The proprietary VLAN was deployed across campus, except for the medical school, by May 1998. That year the University had a 90-megabit per second connection to the Internet. “We started doing VLANs on campus before VLANs existed,” Gogan said.

As of April 18, 2002, UNC-Chapel Hill claimed 3,540 managed devices, about 44,000 unique media access control (MAC) addresses and some 78,000 wall jacks. Fast forward to the present: The University has reached 11,710 managed devices and more than 140,000 unique MAC addresses on a daily basis. The University, Gogan said, gave up trying to keep track of all the wall jacks.

A thank you to campus IT workers

With this look back, Gogan demonstrated how far the University’s IT professionals have taken the campus. “A reminder to all of us—we do really good work on campus,” he told the CTC attendees. “Thank you for making this happen.”

 

 

 

 

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