Campus telecom starts building for the 2010s

The big job of installing the network described in UCDNet3, a six-year project to equip the campus telecom system for the data demands of the next decade, began in earnest this summer.

As the work progresses between now and 2014, people should notice that data is moving faster both to and from UC Davis, huge files are moving more easily, and the wireless network is growing. If the installations go smoothly, people on campus shouldn't notice disruptions--just better performance.

By early fall, the Communications Resources section of Information and Educational Technology had:

--Installed part of the faster network core. "We're basically laying the groundwork for improving both the speed and the ability of the network to support converged services" such as videos and VoIP (telephone calls placed over the Internet), said Mark Redican, manager of the Network Operations Center and head of the UCDNet3 project.

--Started replacing the area distribution frames, which route network traffic to various large segments of the campus network. The department is doing this work outside of normal business hours and doesn't expect it to interrupt network service.

--Finished replacing the old access points on the campus wireless network with more capable equipment, to help support the wireless network's further expansion.

Decisions about where the wireless network should grow will be guided by the new Telecom Advisory Board chaired by Matt Bishop, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and a co-director of the Computer Security Laboratory. Redican and others expect to begin meeting with the board, whose members include faculty, research, staff and student representatives, in October.

Communications Resources wants to get the board's sense of priorities as to which buildings should get the expanded wireless and faster network connections first , Redican said. The work will occur in phases, and some parts of campus need the improvements sooner than others.

As the deployment progresses, the new network will move data 10 times faster than the existing network has. It will have more reliable electronics, better security, an improved ability to identify and prioritize network traffic, and increased wireless coverage and systems. The expanded capacity will support the fast transmission of huge data files needed to support advanced research, as well as high-definition video.

UCDNet3 received approval from campus leadership to proceed this year. It is the product of extensive planning, testing and review.

For a complete story about UCDNet3, see "UCDNet3 plans faster, more wireless future for campus" in the spring/summer 2008 IT Times. Click here for technical and maintenance schedules and similar information about the project.