Canterbury Uni boosts network to 10Gbit/s

100Gbit/s is on the university's roadmap

Juniper Networks is overhauling the University of Canterbury’s network deploying a 10 Gbit/s Ethernet network to provide students high-speed access to video, voice, business and web applications.

The project, due for completion at the end of 2010, is in response to increased capacity demand fueled by a growth in multimedia consumption.

Juniper Networks’ EX4200 Ethernet Switches are being deployed in a new network core to upgrade the university’s network from a 1Gbit/s backbone, which the university plans to expand to 100Gbit/s in the future. The university is also deploying redundant networks to give it added capacity and seamless fail-over capabilities.

Jerry Schave, network group leader at the university, says Juniper was chosen because it delivered great price-performance.

The deployment of the Juniper gear, however, is the end of a three year programme which saw new fibre “blown in” across the university in 2007 and new routers deployed. Schave says the new fibre made added flexibility if the network has to be rearranged.

He liked the Juniper Virtual Stack and Virtual Chassis technology allowing the interconnection of multiple boxes to allow them to operate as one or to provide backup. The EX4200’s Virtual Chassis also supports the university’s virtualised server and storage environment, enabling it to scale network costs effectively while minimising power usage and space inside the datacentre.

Juniper says Virtual Chassis enables up to 10 interconnected EX4200 switches to operate as a single, logical device, allowing networks to grow incrementally without large up-front costs.

Schave says the technology also gives future protection and IPv6 support, at an attractive TCO, and features very good manageability with what he describes as a “superior command line interface”.

Schave says gear from Cisco, Allied Telesis, Enterasys and HP was also considered.

The Junos operating system was another part of the decision. Having a single operating system running across the network environment reduces complexity and cuts costs.

The University of Canterbury’s network spans its 87-hectare campus with two Gigabit Ethernet connections to its ISP serving 11,000 users. Schave says five years ago the students in the halls of residence did not have to pay for network traffic, but cost recovery is now in place to control excessive use. Traffic there has grown from around 50GB a day to 700GB.

Charging is done by registering a code at the firewall, he says.

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