Demand for wireless services at UNCG has increased 442% since 2008. Between November 2012 and November 2013, UNCG experienced a 175% increase in the average number of student-owned devices concurrently connected to its wireless network, and a 230% increase in the number of concurrent devices connected at peak times. As we continue transitioning toward more services hosted in the cloud, we expect network demands to increase even more.
Available bandwidth per user continues to diminish significantly each year as a direct result of increased usage and demand, and overall network performance has decreased as a result. To address this issue, Information Technology Services is currently implementing a multi-year strategy to upgrade both wired and wireless network services at UNCG.
A comprehensive campus wide wireless site survey was conducted by SecurEdge Networks in late 2013 to determine where gaps in wireless coverage exist. From this data, a new campus wireless design was developed in partnership with Aruba Networks with the explicit goal of providing pervasive, highly-available, high-performance wireless access.
As the new wireless design is implemented, several key changes will occur over the next 2 years:
- infrastructure capacity – additional wireless controllers will be installed to accommodate additional demand (summer 2014)
- **wireless standard – access points will be upgraded from existing a/b/g standards to 802.11ac for improved performance and stability (from 10/100 Gb shared to 1000 Gb shared)
- **density – access points will be increased by 17% in academic and administrative buildings and by 38% in the residence halls to ensure adequate coverage (approximately 700 additional APs will be deployed)
- **AP placement – access points will be relocated as needed according to the design specifications to ensure optimum signal performance
During this same period, the following wired network upgrades will occur:
- internet network bandwidth – contract with NCREN (our internet service provider) will be upgraded from 1000 Mb (Tier 2) to 1500 Mb (Tier 1) service (summer 2014)
- physical internet links – existing 1 Gb upgraded to 10 Gb (summer 2014)
- data center, core, and distribution infrastructure – existing 10 Gb upgraded to 40 Gb (summer 2014)
- **campus building infrastructure – existing 1 Gb upgraded to 10 Gb, where appropriate
**A complete schedule of planned 2014 – 2016 upgrades will be published to campus in September 2014.
Benefits to UNCG of the network upgrades include:
- increased network performance (speed)
- increased access coverage across the campus
- more reliable connectivity