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During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, ITS Communication Technologies was able to completely upgrade network coverage in 45 buildings without sacrificing day-to-day network operations and support, bringing the campus network coverage up to more than 300 buildings.

This was possible because of a clearly defined life-cycle refresh budget. In 2012, ITS defined a schedule for providing network life-cycle equipment refreshes by instituting the Communication Technologies Funding Model.

Jim Gogan
Jim Gogan

Under this schedule, the lifespan for within-building “access layer” network hardware was projected at seven to 10 years; ideally, closer to seven than to 10, but with the expectation that it might have to be 10 years, said Jim Gogan, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Communication Technologies.

However, network hardware vendors are increasingly ending support for their devices within seven years or less as technology continues to advance, he said.

Communication Technologies had a goal of upgrading as many buildings as possible during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. With the rate of refresh that Communication Technologies achieved — those 45 buildings — the division is on target to reach that seven-year lifespan on an ongoing basis.

220 Finley Golf Course Road
212 Finley Golf Course Road
Student Stores
Paul Green Theatre/Center for Dramatic Arts
194 Prestwick Road
New East
New West
Phillips Annex
Environmental Health and Safety
Francis Owen Blood Lab
McColl Building
Sitterson Hall
205 Wilson Court
207 Wilson Court
215 West Cameron Ave.
Swain Hall
Memorial Hall
Top of the Hill
Health Sciences Library
Morehead Labs
Murphey Hall
Davis Library
Rizzo Center
Hill Hall
Buildings and Grounds
Daily Tar Heel
Kenan Center
Hyde Hall
Hanes Art
Bingham Hall
Jackson Hall
Student Union
Alumni Building
Caldwell Hall
Stone Center
Smith Building
Graham Memorial
Medical School Wings B, C, D, E
Medical Research Building B
Student Health
EPA Building
Rams Head

Multiple life-cycling efforts advance

As part of life-cycling efforts, Communications Technologies has been actively “right-sizing” the network by reducing the total equipment count (points for failure) to account for the ongoing transition from wired ports to wireless.

The division also been removing, at a rapid pace, all the really old generation switches that only support 10/100 Mbit to the edge. Communications Technologies reduced those switches to around 250 by the end of the 2016-2017 fiscal year from around 1,000 a year earlier. The division expects to have the rest of the switches removed and replaced by the end of the 2017 calendar year.

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