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Network Outages and Growing Pains


Posted: 04/12/2012

Chief Technology Officer Charlie McMahon foretold of replacing the entire Tulane network infrastructure during the Technology Services Town Hall meeting held in Fall of 2011. Technology Services is in the process of implementing significant upgrades in the network across the Tulane campus. Unfortunately, the campus experienced an extended outage this past Monday, February 27 as a result of these “growing pains.”

Monday’s network experience was characterized by slow and spotty service throughout most of the day. The root of the problem was the failure of 12 year old equipment that was scheduled to be replaced. Infrastructure Services responded by rebalancing traffic across additional devices, and most areas of campus experienced an improvement in connectivity by 3:00 p.m. A permanent fix is planned and will be implemented later this semester but will require network downtime.

Network Upgrades

Technology Services is aware of the importance of the Tulane network to our campus community. With that in mind, please be aware of the following upgrades:

Most recently Tulane network services experts installed a 10G connection between the uptown campus and 1555 Poydras, increasing the available bandwidth between the two locations by a factor of ten. On Feb 6, Tulane also installed a dedicated 1Gbps Commodity Internet circuit to supplement the 10Gbp LONI/Internet2 circuit.

Tulane computer users have many more system upgrades to look forward to in the near future. Upcoming network improvements include:

  • A fiber ring in the downtown area connecting 1555 Poydras to the Health Sciences buildings.
  • Fiber from the uptown campus to No. 2 Audubon and University Square enabling 10G links to these locations
  • New and redundant firewalls and border routers
  • New 10G network for Tulane’s data center
  • Replace the aging DNS infrastructure with advanced and secure DNS appliances that can support IP version 6 (IPv6)
  • Connect every building on campus with 10G fibe
  • Replace all switches with one that can provide multicast and Power over Ethernet (PoE) and 10G uplink
  • Replace all Wireless Access Points with one that can provide 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz radios

Geared towards increasing bandwidth and security systemwide, these upgrades will provide Tulane students, faculty and staff with greater computing power and represent just one small part of Technology Services’ plan to continually upgrade our system. As demand for streaming video, online meetings and use of web applications increases, Technology Services’ goal is to remain 10 steps ahead of user demand. These upgrades will result in some unavoidable outages, and Technology Services will inform our user community in advance of any network downtime due to maintenance.

For more background on planned technology improvements, please refer to http://tulane.edu/tsweb/townhall.cfm Look for updates from Technology Services on Twitter, Facebook and this website.

Technology Services, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 -- TSNOC: 1-866-276-1428 -- help@tulane.edu