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OIT completes massive network upgrade over break

Will Puckett | Friday, January 16, 2004

While students were vacationing over winter break, the Office of Information Technology was hard at work on the largest network upgrade ever at the University. A team of engineers visited each residence hall and replaced the approximately 220 switches that connect students to the network, in addition to other improvements.The upgrade was implemented not only to quicken the speed of the network, but to improve the reliability and manageability of the network, as well, officials said. While the network received approximately a tenfold improvement in raw speed, from 10 megabits to 100 megabits for each student’s computer, Dewitt Latimer, Notre Dame’s chief technology officer, emphasized other advantages.”This upgrade replaced 5 year-old equipment that was costing us a lot of money to maintain and repair,” Latimer said. “The switches we put in are easier to maintain, can be managed remotely, and overall will cost us less money to run.”The switch closets – 75 of them in 62 buildings – were upgraded, as well. Many air conditioning units were not adequate, and some buildings had no air conditioning, potentially allowing equipment to overheat and suffer damage. Where necessary, those systems were replaced or new ones were installed, Latimer said.Uninterruptible power supplies, or battery backups, were also installed in each switch closet, allowing the campus network to continue to function for some time should the power go out. Dust and dirt were cleaned out of the closets that had accumulated over the years as well, reducing the possibility of it causing problems.This is not the only thing OIT has been doing, Latimer said. During the fall semester, network equipment was upgraded in DeBartolo, Grace and Flanner halls, and the wireless network continues to be expanded, Latimer said.”We obviously have more desires than we have dollars, and we’re trying to pick the most cost-effective improvements to the network. This major upgrade to ResNet kept coming up, and so we did that over break – but that’s not all we’re doing,” he said. “We’re hoping to make more upgrades to the campus network, including offering more bandwidth and more flexibility for everyone who uses the network.”