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.
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.
212 Finley Golf Course Road
Paul Green Theatre/Center for Dramatic Arts
194 Prestwick Road
Environmental Health and Safety
Francis Owen Blood Lab
205 Wilson Court
207 Wilson Court
215 West Cameron Ave.
Top of the Hill
Health Sciences Library
Buildings and Grounds
Daily Tar Heel
Medical School Wings B, C, D, E
Medical Research Building B
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.