News & Alerts

Title

News from NGN: Project Update for March 2018

March 22, 2018
Next Generation Network graphic

Next Generation Network (NGN) project teams are continuing to make progress across all five University of Minnesota campuses. The following are updates from the different NGN project segments. 

WiFi

The WiFi portion of the NGN project is considered complete. Over 10,000 WiFi access points were newly-installed across the University of Minnesota system, and all U of M faculty, staff, and student WiFi users were transitioned to the new, preferred secure WiFi network: eduroam.

Improvements and adjustments continue to be made in order to better the WiFi experience for all of our users. WiFi controller migrations to the new core in April will increase WiFi speed even more on the Twin Cities campus. Other areas of progress include:  

  • Customized AP radio profiles by building type: The project team established an environment that allows for tuning for building-specific WiFi individually based on building materials, access point deployment, coverage, and usage.

  • Improving WiFi service in residence halls: On all campuses, the WiFi team is continuing to implement tuning and adjustments to improve WiFi range and performance in residence halls.

  • Increased AP counts in trouble spots: For instance, we have increased the number of access points in residence halls and buildings, while reducing the number of APs in other over-saturated locations such as lecture halls or field houses.

  • Consistent upgrades to our cutting-edge software: As part of the overall NGN project, teams have implemented leading-edge equipment and software packages in order to offer the best possible WiFi experience to our users.

  • Upgrading building maps for service response: Efforts to place access points on building maps are ongoing so that networking staff can better diagnose problem zones and identify areas which would benefit from additional coverage or tuning.

Data Center

In the Data Center segment, the Data Center core cutover is targeted for July 2018. The Data Center NGN team is currently seeking information from tenants to begin client transition from old network to new (estimated to begin in August 2018). If you have equipment in the Twin Cities Data Centers at 90 Church or WBOB, please complete this survey or contact jpz@umn.edu by April 6, 2018.

Firewalls

Core firewalls have begun the transition from the old to the new. This intensive portion of the project will encompass several months. The Firewall teams will be working directly with each department to plan and execute conversions. Management improvements are also included in the NGN firewall upgrade. Departmental firewall administrators will use FortiManager as a single portal to configure and push out policies to the actual firewalls. This one-stop-shop should make it easier to maintain multiple firewalls and manage configuration revisions. An additional feature is FortiAnalyzer, which is a logging, analysis, and reporting appliance for our firewall users. The NGN Firewalls team is working to transition all core firewalls (not including Data Center firewalls) by the end of November 2018.

Distribution/Edge (Wired Network)

Work is scheduled to begin on the distribution/edge segment of NGN, which is the process of replacing and upgrading the University’s wired network, in July of 2018. As with the WiFi portion of NGN, it is anticipated that the work will begin rolling out on the Twin Cities campus beginning with St. Paul and moving to West Bank and East Bank afterwards.

Information sessions regarding this upcoming work will be held in April. We invite you to join us to learn more about the upcoming work on the wired network and engage in a Q&A with the NGN project leadership team.

NGN Information Sessions:

April 20, 2018
10 - 11 a.m.
Peters Hall, Room 155 (St. Paul Campus)

April 26, 2018
2 - 3 p.m.
Anderson Hall, Room 330 (West Bank Campus)

April 30, 2018
10 - 11 a.m.
Burton Hall, Room 120 (East Bank Campus)

Please RSVP to these events at z.umn.edu/ngninfosession and share them with your networks. All events will feature the same presentation and time for discussion, and the event on April 26 will be also available via WebEx.

Crookston, Duluth, Morris & Rochester Updates

Network progress continues on the system campuses as well. System campus core cutovers are targeted for summer 2018, and WiFi adjustments and improvements continue to be made to improve service for all University WiFi users.

Upgrades to the wired network (also referred to as the distribution/edge segment) are scheduled to begin during the summer of 2019 for system campuses.

The UMD Network team continues core and border router work. Distribution/Edge (building switch replacements) work at UMD has been postponed to 2019. The team also continues to work on WiFi improvements. New access points have been added to the Ward Wells Field House, adjustments and testing continue for large lecture halls (high-density deployments), and an updated WiFi design was recently approved for Humanities (Summer 2018 installation). WiFi design work is complete for CAMS and Romano Gym. Service will be implemented as part of each of those construction/remodeling projects.

We thank all of our University partners for their collaboration and assistance. Please contact ngn@umn.edu with any questions.