Beginning in spring 2018, OIT embarked on a multi-year project to completely refresh the Athens campus wired and wireless networks. The upgrade started at what is sometimes called the "last mile" - the connections in individual offices, rooms, and classrooms - and is working its way back to the network core.
Goals and Benefits
The upgrade will make OHIO's network capable of supporting a "wireless first" approach, with infrastructure that can be updated on a regular basis. To reach this goal, OIT will need to bring the University's wired infrastructure up to speed, both literally and figuratively.
The upgrade will feature a number of benefits, including:
- 10x speed increase for wired connections, with an option near the end of the project for 100x speeds in special circumstances like research labs.
- At least a doubling of current Wi-Fi speeds.
- A significant increase in the density and reliability of Wi-Fi coverage.
This should be the last "top to bottom" upgrade of its kind. That's not to say that the University won't need to continue investing in connectivity. We will, but those investments will happen continuously, with portions of the network being updated every year on a rolling basis instead of all at once every ten years.
While our core router is fairly new, our last comprehensive wired network upgrade happened a decade ago. Much of that equipment remains in service and will need to be replaced.
Network demand continues to increase each year. Faculty, staff, and students expect our network to facilitate their teaching, learning, research, and on-campus living needs. We cannot continue to meet those expectations with equipment that is reaching the end of its useful life.
Preparing for a wireless future
Our network infrastructure needs to reach a standard that will support future expansion of wireless network coverage while providing acceptable performance for individuals who still need access to a wired connection. OHIO's wireless already is significantly faster than the wired network, and that advantage will increase as part of this upgrade. OHIO Wi-Fi also is fully encrypted and requires an OHIO login, while wired internet is open and unsecured. Finally, wireless devices can be moved around at will: no need to have a wired port activated in a new location. Wired jack activations will continue to be free; however, we anticipate much less demand for them in the future, given Wi-Fi's clear benefits and lower cost-per-person.
Our commitment to you
This network upgrade is a large project that will span multiple years. There will be service disruptions. We ask that you please bear with us. In return, we make the following commitment to you, the faculty, staff, and students of Ohio University:
- We will respect your work. Whenever possible, we will schedule disruptive changes during times of low demand, and we will keep the University's academic and administrative calendars in mind as we plan our work.
- We will minimize impact. Changes that require an outage will receive close scrutiny. Given a choice between more effort for us or less impact for you, we will choose the former.
- We will communicate. You will always know in advance what we plan to do and when we plan to do it. Communication methods will include Compass and OHIO Employee News stories, targeted email messages, physical signs in buildings where upgrade crews are working, and descriptive notes technicians can leave behind if they make any changes to a space while its occupants are away.