A Private College Prepares for Network Infrastructure Growth and New Technologies

As the facility and technology leaders at a private New England college started to learn more about and implement new building, lighting, and information technologies, they quickly surmised that the Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies would have a direct impact on their network infrastructure. Managing projects with different requirements for the organization’s stakeholders such as student housing, admissions, research, and athletics, was not the best operating plan knowing the large demands network-connected devices would have on their facilities and supporting networks. They were also upgrading one or two buildings per year to horizontal cabling infrastructure that could support IoT.  However, they realized that this implementation plan was in need of a better master plan. Student learning, student experience, campus safety, and energy-efficiency and sustainability initiatives were also important factors to consider as they set forth to begin their strategic planning.

The college selected Leading Edge Design Group to evaluate their existing layer 1 network infrastructure on campus and develop recommendations for improvement to prepare for new technologies like IoT. The assessment included the gathering, interviewing, and analysis of the following:

  • Existing facility drawings and as-built documentation of the optical backbone infrastructure on campus and the horizontal cabling infrastructure within buildings
  • Existing network topology drawings provided by the campus network team
  • Existing layer 1 infrastructure information on optical cable plant and inbuild copper and fiber cabling.
  • Studies and evaluations previously conducted by the college and their consultants on existing network infrastructure on campus.
  • Campus standards for design and sustainability, including the existing network systems cabling infrastructure standards and the existing campus design standards published by facilities operations & maintenance.
  • Network services staff insight regarding status and performance of existing infrastructure and equipment.
  • Industry benchmarking data and best practices for design, reliability, capacity, and scalability.
  • Detailed stakeholder Interviews with diverse set college network services users
  • Detailed onsite assessments of the existing network infrastructure on campus in all facility types: academic, research, and residential.

Leading Edge Design Group recommended improvements that would provide the College with a layer 1 network infrastructure that meets current needs of the College’s stakeholders and provide the scalability to expand as further demand is placed on the network over the next five to ten years.

Recommendations and deliverables included:

  • Improvements to the redundancy of the campus fiber optic backbone
  • Improvements to the resiliency of the network and the delivery of network services
  • A plan for adding resiliency to the network for faculty, staff, students, and guests
  • A master plan to support current and future campus-wide network infrastructure strategy for IoT, smart building technologies, and more.