Although the OSU Institute of Technology campus has appeared unoccupied the past few months, Technology Services has been working behind the scenes on a project to improve internet access campus-wide.
Technology Services has been working for several years to upgrade the fiber optic cable on campus to provide more bandwidth to and from the internet.
The previous fiber networking was installed in the 1990s. The use of computers, servers and mobile devices has grown exponentially since this time, requiring more bandwidth to make use of current technology adequately. The old fiber was reaching end-of-life and was in danger of deteriorating.
“This type of update is necessary because we are consuming more high-definition content from the internet, students are taking online courses, employees are working from home and we’re making use of a huge assortment of cloud-based services,” said Dr. Kevin Hulett, associate vice president of Technology Services. “OSUIT needed more bandwidth to accommodate this reliance on internet-based services.”
The upgrade will allow other improvements that were previously not possible, such as increased wireless coverage and capacity, wireless computer labs and increased distance learning capacity.
With the recent quarantine for Coronavirus COVID-19, the timing of this upgrade was crucial. Students were sitting in their cars in certain areas on campus to access Wi-Fi without entering the building.
Once the fiber project is completed, Technology Services will install Wi-Fi antennae to increase outdoor Wi-Fi access for students and employees.
“The Wi-Fi project could not have started without the increased bandwidth provided by the fiber upgrade,” said Dr. Hulett. “The Wi-Fi project will allow wireless device connections from the parking lots north of the Grady Clack and north of the Library. While this increased coverage will always be beneficial, it is crucial now in providing wireless in an age of social distancing.”
The fiber project was initially envisioned and outlined in the OSUIT Technology Plan by Dr. Hulett. With support from Jim Smith, vice president of Fiscal Services, and Jalynda Bailey, director of Purchasing, this project became a reality within the last year.
The last few months consisted of designing the new network and running single-mode fiber throughout the ground on campus.
Kyle McCulloch, OSUIT’s infrastructure administrator, who designed the new network, also supervised the vendors for the install of the conduit and fiber on campus during this break in classes.
The fiber is now installed in the ground across campus and the next step is to run it into each building, connect configured and test before switching over from the old fiber to new.
“The second stage of the project will be upgrading and configuring the new, higher bandwidth switching equipment one building at a time and then switching each building over to the newer higher-bandwidth fiber,” said Dr. Hulett. “This improvement should meet OSUIT’s needs for the foreseeable future.”
Once the final stage is complete, this will conclude the fiber project and they will finalize the Wi-Fi access project. There are no further plans to upgrade the fiber until new technological advances make single-mode fiber obsolete.