Residential networks connected to upgraded backbone network

Feb. 5, 2013, 11:21 p.m.

IT Services has started to connect all Stanford residential networks to a newly upgraded backbone network in an effort to reduce the possibility of network failures and Internet outages such as the one that affected residences across campus last month.

All academic buildings were connected to the new network by December 2012, and all residential networks will have been migrated to the new system by mid-March 2013, according to Nancy Ware ’83, director of strategic planning and communications for IT Services.

“The purpose of this refresh is to ensure that we continue to provide Stanford with a high-performance, highly available network built with the latest network standards,” Ware wrote in a statement to The Daily. “The newly upgraded network is more resilient and features increased capacity.”

The new network is organized into multiple Operational Areas, and each area’s network equipment room is “physically diverse,” according to Ware, to improve the chances that the network as a whole will remain healthy should any piece fail. The Operational Areas, each of which is independently redundant, are linked to each other via multiple 10 Giga-bit per second connections.

Benjamin McKenzie ’15, residential computer consultant in Burbank, expressed his hope that the new backbone network will increase network speed for residences that currently suffer from slow connections.

“We have a relatively strong connection in Burbank, but I’ve heard a lot of people in FloMo [Florence Moore Hall] really complaining about their wireless connectability,” McKenzie said. “So hopefully that will help.”

IT Services migrated three residential networks Lyman wired, Roble wired and FloMo wireless to the new backbone network in December 2012. Ware said that these networks represent three different network types an undergraduate wired network, a graduate wired network and a wireless network and were upgraded early to “test operational stability and compatibility.”

According to Ware, the network outage on Jan. 29 motivated IT Services to accelerate the process of migrating the remaining residential networks to the new backbone network. Since Jan. 29, the networks for Governor’s Corner, Lagunita Court, Wilbur Hall and the Row have been connected to the backbone network. The remaining networks for the Lyman Graduate Residences, Roble Hall and FloMo have also been switched over.

A redundant connection for these networks is expected to be in place by Feb. 8.

Though McKenzie predicted that the network migration will not be seamless, he expressed general optimism about the new network.

“I’ve heard that sometimes things can fall through, so I think there will be a lot of patches in the exchange that initially will show up as issues with people,” he said. “In the long run, hopefully the new infrastructure is more solid and faster.”

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