14 June 2005

Network issues

Leading-edge network services need a robust network.

Difficulties with the network continue to plague the Division’s capacity to support existing services and introduce new ones like the eMeeting system and streaming video. Network Services from ICT Services are being extremely helpful in this regard (a major issue with the live streaming of local television services was solved last month when a security setting on the main University router was identified as the culprit and reset), but problems continue with getting reliable services across subnets.

Current thinking is that we must replace ALL the older D-Link network switches with more modern managed switches: while this is necessary and it may solve some of the performance bottlenecks on the network, there may be other underlying configuration settings that will also need to be modified before full service from, for example, the eMeeting server is available. There are between 15 and 20 older switches in the Division that need replacing: at our own cost we have already replaced 5 and are waiting for them to be installed in key locations around the Division to see if performance improves. Another 10-15 switches will be required to completely update the network, and there may be some additional capacity required to allow them to be connected properly to the University network.

While the installation, maintenance, administration and upgrading of the network is the responsibility of ICT Services, in practice they don’t have the resources to solve these issues on their own immediately: the Division will need to contribute funds if the problems are to be addressed now.