Aberystwyth University Project

Aberystwyth University relies on Cisco Networking Infrastructure to provide internet access to students and in their new Fferm Penglais student residences whilst maintaining IT efficiency.

Client

Aberystwyth University

Location

Aberystwyth, Wales

Dates

1 September 2014-18 August 2015

Duration

One Year

Challenge
Aberystwyth University’s mission is to provide a first-class student experience and excellence in research. Located in the idyllic countryside on the Welsh coast, it is recognised as one of the safest universities in Britain.
To continue to fulfil this vision the university’s has recently invested £45 million in the Fferm Penglais a new development offering accommodation for 1000 students.
Supporting this mission demands a significant technology infrastructure.
Thousands of students arrive in September and October expecting world class connectivity and access to university resources and the internet.
With so much depending on the network, Aberystwyth University network must remain in service at all times. Wired access is needed for student devices in bedrooms as well as wireless both inside the accommodation in communal buildings and externally.
The key to protecting any network on this scale is maintaining security and using the most reliable equipment configured to the best network standards available.
One of the drawbacks of a free and open educational network is that it is open to so many devices all containing their own risks to the overall networking environment. In addition performance of the network and reliability are key to ensuring that the services always available.
The other major responsibility for the IT team is maintaining regulatory compliance. With clinical and financial information constantly traversing the network, the institution has the requirement to enforce compliance standards.

Solution
With such an important set of requirements Aberystwyth University needed a highly versatile, manageable network. The University turned to Competent Solutions Ltd to implement a Cisco Solution. Aberystwyth University has long used an end-to-end Cisco network. Over the past several years, the IT team has employed more and more Cisco technologies.

Controlling Endpoints
Given the open environment, numerous Internet connections, and frequent guests that characterize the Aberystwyth University, the IT team cannot fully lock down network endpoints and throughput and connectivity must be maintained at all times.
The network in the Plengolas Campus is connected with two rings of fibre maintained with Catalyst 2960-X Series Access Switches and two Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Distribution Switches to ensure that breaks in the cable or equipment failure do not affect the 1000 student users connecting their many IT devices.
Each distribution switch has distinct network route back to the main campus.
The internal wireless access is provided with Cisco Aironet 1500 Series External Wireless Access Points with internal wireless provided by Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Wireless Access Points. Which provide very high levels of manageability and reliability.

Simplifying Administration
All the Cisco equipment can be easily managed from a central location and changes distributed to switch stacks quickly and easily.

Performance
The 10GB Single Mode Fibre connections provide access to the Campus at high speed over the distance from the main building and ensure that larger files and large numbers of users are easily accommodated.

Results
Today, Aberystwyth University is successfully accommodating the needs of their students over the new network providing them with the open academic environment they need, while protecting sensitive information and assets.
The Cisco network administration tools have make a real difference, eliminating much of the time and effort that would otherwise be devote to manual processes.
Ultimately, Competent Solutions and Cisco have proven to be an important partner for Aberystwyth University.

Next Steps
In the coming months, Aberystwyth University plan to continue expanding the Cisco strategy, including bringing additional resources online