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With the implementation of the ITS Communication Technology Funding Model for network core services in July 2012, planning for and implementation of an annual life cycle refresh process for campus network hardware became a reality.

There are five categories of devices that comprise the hardware capital for the campus network (this excludes the physical layer infrastructure associated with inter-building fiber and within-building copper and fiber):

  • Core/backbone routers
  • Distribution layer switches (Tier 1 and Building Entrance Switches – BES)
  • Access layer switches (End-User Switches – EUS)
  • Wi-Fi (based on full deployment)
  • Data Center switches

For the initial five years under the model, only the first three categories were considered.    Since FY18, however, the initial deployment of a pervasive Wi-Fi strategy and the re-location of departmental servers into the ITS-managed data centers means that those last two categories also need to be included into on-going life cycle refresh plans.

Based on industry values and discussions with other universities, the lifespan ranges that we have used in the rate model calculation and for planning purposes for these five categories are shown in the table.

Category Industry Lifespan Actual UNC Lifespan
Core/Backbone Router 3–5 years 5 years
Distribution Layer (Tier1/BES) 5–7 years 6 years
Access Layer (EUS) 7–10 years 8 years
Wi-Fi infrastructure 4-6 years 6 years
Data Center switches 5-7 years 7 years


FY2019-23 Priorities

  • UNC Data Centers network infrastructure refresh (major 18-month initiative)
  • Replacement of 2,824 wireless access points going end-of-life in 2020
  • Replacement of 267 network switches that went end-of-life in 2012
  • Replacement of 66 network switches that went end-of-life in 2016
  • Upgrade of campus Tier 1 network aggregation switches to support higher speeds
  • Replacement of 1,050 network switches going end-of-life in 2019
  • Upgrade of main campus departmental router (“fluffy”)
  • Replacement of 113 network switches going end-of-life prior to 2022


Projects Completed Past Three Years


Router Infrastructure

FY2015-16 FY2016-17 FY2017-18
DataCenter router ResNET Border routers
Main campus (fluffy) WiFi routers

Access Layer (End-User Switches — Full Building Refresh)

Smith Bldg

FY2015-16 FY2016-17 FY2017-18
UNC Press 212 Finley Golf Craige North
Macnider 220 Finley Golf Glaxo
Old Clinic 194 Prestwick Place WUNC
FPG Health Safety (EHS) Sheryl-Mar
Public Safety New East Wilson Library
Carolina Hall New West Bioinformatics
McColl (selected) Paul Green Theatre South Chiller
Hill commercial Phillips Annex Evergreen House
Peabody Student Stores Cheek Clark
Murphey Blood Lab Battle
Thurston Bowles McColl CCEE
Neuroscience Sitterson Cobb Deck
Taylor 205 Wilson Ct Hickerson House
Fetzer 207 Wilson Ct Coates Bldg
720 MLK Blvd 215 W Cameron 116 S. Merritt Mill
725 MLK Blvd Swain Hall Northeast Chiller
Med Wings C/D Memorial Hall Manning Steam Plant
Cogen Facility Top of Hill Manning Substation
Electric Distribution HSL Joint Child Care
Carr Mill Morehead Labs Cobb Chiller
Chapel Hill North Murphey Hall Finley Golf Course
Central Receiving Davis Library East Chiller
Rizzo Center North Chiller
Craige North ROTC
Hill Hall CLLC
Buildings and Grounds Bingham Facility
Daily Tar Heel Chapman Hall
Kenan Center Manning Hall
Hyde Hall Energy Services
Hanes Art SASB
Bingham Caudill Labs
Jackson WUNC-Durham
Student Union Carrington
Alumni Bldg Alumni Center
Caldwell Porthole
Stone Center Y-Court
Smith Bldg Brauer
Graham Memorial Ernie Williamson
Med Wings B/E
Med Research B
Student Health
Rams Head

Distribution Layer (Tier 1 and BES only unless otherwise indicated)

FY2015-16 FY2016-17 FY2017-18
Peabody Tier 1 Fetzer Tier 1
Friday Center Tier 1 Metro-E Tier 1
Kenan Music Tier 1 Giles Horney Tier 1
Hanes Art
Hanes Hall
ITS Manning
Sheryl-Mar North
Alumni Hall
Bingham Hall
206 W Frnaklin
Hyde Hall
Smith Bldg
Tate-Turner Kuralt
Stone Center
Old Infirmary
Rizzo Ctr (4 bldgs)
WiFi Controller Switches: Med School
Beard Hall
Wilson Library
Student Union
Morehead Labs
134 E Franklin
210 Pittsboro
WiFi Controller Switches: main campus


                            Last update – August 31, 2018