A new & changing landscape in university networks
Universities are adjusting to the influx of e-learning and tele-education in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are complex and varying digital infrastructure components that need to function properly to support the day-to-day operations of a university, from enrollment, to payment, to online coursework, to library and databases, research, web applications for learning, and more.
In previous articles, we have shared how our ‘new normal’ is impacting other verticals and adding pressure to internet and bandwidth requirements. For example, service providers are re-evaluating their IT infrastructures and upgrading to scale as the world’s internet bandwidth is pushed to the brink. Similarly, universities are adapting to shifts in the following scenarios.
- As students stream content from the internet to support their e-learning activities, this adds importance to mission-critical upstream connections versus traditional focus on downstream. Universities need to adjust by developing new student engagement platforms such as virtual campus visits, new student orientation, and collaboration tools to provide their students with robust learning opportunities. This all leads to further reliance on cloud communication and collaboration platforms.
- Users access university networks from the outside which exposes potential network security gaps. Now, more than ever, medical university research is likely contributing to potential treatments, vaccines, and maybe even a cure for COVID-19 which adds newfound importance to understanding why university network administrators should not overlook upgrades to further secure their network infrastructure.
- With these abrupt changes taking place in our current landscape, you may be asking what the future holds for universities. From the current crisis, we have learned that public health depends on contact tracing to head off future virus outbreaks within communities. We posit that university infrastructures will also need to scale to support operational intelligence models which can support contact tracing efforts through multiple modalities – video, mobile device data, and applications.
Addressing questions & finding solutions
AddOn is currently working with universities to help solve their questions and challenges. Here are a few of the recent questions we have heard from universities along with our recommendations.
How can we create state-of-the-art networks for our future needs? Many large universities use 100G and 200G DWDM networks, with 100G drops. They are also moving to 400G at the core to 100G at each building. AddOn transceivers range from 1G to 400G as well as our direct attach cables (DACs) and active optical cables (AOCs). We also have a variety of multi-code options, media converters, fiber patch cables, and accessories to support your growth and infrastructure transitions.
How can we save money without sacrificing quality? AddOn third-party compatibles are a phenomenal alternative to OEM devices without sacrificing quality. Our quality commitment is demonstrated through our Data Traveler System™. With a less than .02% failure rate, we can be trusted more so than any other compatible vendor.
How can we support an environment with multiple platforms and vendors? AddOn offers multi-code solutions to address your interoperability challenges. Network deployments often mix switches, servers, load balancers, or storage appliances from multiple OEM vendors. We multi-code DAC and AOC options to address the challenge of network interoperability by providing cables that are compatible with multiple OEMs.
Whether you are working on a campus network upgrade or other IT infrastructure projects, you should be aware of the evolving connectivity demands and challenges.