Network Upgrades Pave the Way for Added Functionality & More Robust Security
Starting over the past summer, IT's Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) has been hard at work refreshing equipment and upgrading our network. Here's the rundown.
Edge Network Upgrades
The Edge Network Explained
Simply explained, Sheridan's 'Edge' network is the part of our network infrastructure that controls the flow of data within Sheridan from any device that is plugged into a network jack. For example, computers; printers; wireless access points; network switches; building automation devices; etc. Data from our 'Edge' network then flows through our 'Core' network which basically controls the flow of data between Sheridan campuses and the internet.
The Upgrades So Far
The 'Edge' network upgrades consisted of complete rebuilds of most of our network closets, including the routing or re-routing of cabling, the removal of old switching equipment, installation of new equipment and the re-installation or termination of network drops.
Close to 17,000 network ports were upgraded (we have over 34,000!), bringing our Edge network transfer speeds up to either 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps capacity (previously as low as 100 Mbps). Further, all edge network ports are now Power over Ethernet (POE) enabled and are capable of supplying power to devices such as access points, phones, clocks, etc.
BEFORE AND AFTER: The re-routing and removal of redundant cabling in our network closets was no small feat and this photo represent only one of the 98 closets that were cleaned up.
Upgrades to Continue Throughout Winter Term
Throughout the next month and into the next semester, ISG will also be working to install a new security infrastructure, including the re-deployment of a second firewall, that will provide significant capacity, functionality upgrades and more robust security. We will also be making additional upgrades to our core/distribution networks as well as our data centre. We hope to have the bulk of these installations complete by the early spring.
The deployment of this new framework, including the removal of legacy and end-of-life equipment, brings Sheridan's critical infrastructure into alignment for the first time in many years. After this refresh we will have feature parity across our environment and we will have the ability to tap into many new and advanced technologies that range from detailed network monitoring capabilities to automation to flexible capacity.