2014-2017 Upgrade Project
Demand for wireless services at UNCG has increased 442% since 2008. Between November 2012 and November 2013, UNCG experienced a 175% increase in the average number of student-owned devices concurrently connected to its wireless network, and a 230% increase in the number of concurrent devices connected at peak times. As we continue transitioning toward more services hosted in the cloud, we expect network demands to increase even more.
Available bandwidth per user continues to diminish significantly each year as a direct result of increased usage and demand, and overall network performance has decreased as a result. To address this issue, Information Technology Services is currently implementing a multi-year strategy to upgrade both wired and wireless network services at UNCG.
A comprehensive campus wide wireless site survey was conducted by SecurEdge Networks in late 2013 to determine where gaps in wireless coverage exist. From this data, a new campus wireless design was developed in partnership with Aruba Networks with the explicit goal of providing pervasive, highly-available, high-performance wireless access.
As the new wireless design is implemented, several key changes will occur over the next 3 years:
- Infrastructure capacity: Additional wireless controllers were installed to accommodate additional demand in Summer 2014.
- Wireless standard: Access points will be upgraded from existing a/b/g standards to 802.11ac for improved performance and stability (from 10/100 Gb shared to 1000 Gb shared) [see Project Schedule].
- Density: Access points will be increased by 17% in academic and administrative buildings and by 38% in the residence halls to ensure adequate coverage (approximately 700 additional APs will be deployed) [see Project Schedule].
- AP placement: Access points will be relocated as needed according to the design specifications to ensure optimum signal performance [see Project Schedule].
In addition, the following wired network upgrades occurred:
- Internet network bandwidth: Contract with NCREN (our internet service provider) was upgraded from 1000 Mb (Tier 2) to 1500 Mb (Tier 1) service on July 1, 2014. Upgrade from Tier 1 service to Research tier was completed March 1, 2015.
- Physical internet links: Existing 1 Gb links were upgraded to 10 Gb in Summer 2014.
- Data center, core, and distribution infrastructure: Existing 10 Gb infrastructure was upgraded to 40 Gb in Summer 2014.
- Campus building infrastructure: Existing 1 Gb infrastructure was upgraded to 10 Gb, where appropriate.
Benefits to UNCG of the network upgrades include:
- increased network performance (speed)
- increased access coverage across the campus
- more reliable connectivity
The complete schedule for the planned 2014 – 2017 upgrades can be viewed in the following PDFs: