OIT project should ease Internet access

More bandwidth and improved traffic management added during the summer should help Ohio University students stay connected this quarter, according to a news release from the Office of Information Technology.

The upgraded network will more prepared to handle the university’s traffic, IT Communications Manager Sean O’Malley said.

“We’ve doubled our Internet connectivity over what we had last year,” he said.

During finals week of Winter Quarter, OIT limited the amount of bandwidth available for Netflix streaming, which had been straining the network.

OIT then prepared a study for Spring Quarter to test how much bandwidth the university needed. During the study, OU’s Internet provider, OARnet, allocated twice as much bandwidth as usual for several weeks while OIT monitored the campus’ usage, O’Malley said.

The study found the average demand for bandwidth was significantly higher than the university’s capacity.

“We were basically at 200 percent of what we had the majority of the time last year,” O’Malley said.

The extra bandwidth has helped so far this year, O’Malley added.

“I’ve been watching the graphs, and so far, we’re staying just ahead of the demand,” he said, adding that peak hours are between 8 p.m. and midnight. The period of lowest demand is from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., O’Malley said.

To make sure students and faculty always can access academic services, OIT has given Blackboard and other sites dedicated bandwidth.

The bandwidth upgrade is part of the NextGen network upgrade, a project started in 2009. The plan includes upgrading the network hardware in all on-campus buildings, something O’Malley said has been completed in 105 structures with 45 remaining.

“We’re getting pretty well along with our network,” O’Malley said, adding that the upgrade is three months ahead of schedule.

The next phase of the upgrade is improving the wireless network. This fall, OIT will begin a pilot program to test the coming advancements and then roll out the new network in the spring, said Brice Bible, chief information officer.

“I’m optimistic that the students will get to see that before the end of the year,” he said.

The most noticeable change with the new wireless network will be the login system, Bible said. Users will be able to move from building to building without losing their connections and will not have to log in again, he said.

“We’re moving forward to having a different login system that is a lot different (and) a lot easier to use,” O’Malley said.

Once completed, the new wireless hardware will provide faster connections and denser coverage, O’Malley said, adding that the wireless network, in some places, is supported by 10-year-old hardware, and the new hardware will be more reliable.


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