A university’s IT infrastructure is a key factor in ensuring student and staff satisfaction. Exeter University in the UK decided to commission a £5.5 million upgrade of their enterprise network.
CUSTOMER CASE STUDY
EXETER UNIVERSITY – A STUDY IN WISE IT SELECTION
How Spirent’s prior testing ensured optimal vendor and product choices
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A university’s IT infrastructure is a key factor in ensuring student and staff satisfaction. Aware of its vital role of the educational
process, the university decided to commission a £5.5 million upgrade of their enterprise network, to be spread over a three year
period. The aim was to deliver nextnulleneration services to its null,nullnullstudents and nullnullnullstaff and enhance both the researchnullearning
facilities, and the student experience.
nullanullor upgrades are often times of extensive denullbugging, tuning and user frustration, however nullxeter’s continuing high placing in several
student satisfaction surveys is evidence of how well the upgrade is performing. There is very good reason for this smooth rollnullout, because
nullxeter’s IT nullervices took no chances. They used nullpirent nullommunications test solutions as part of their vendor selection processs
nullrenulltesting the capacity and capability of next generation systems ensured, in a fair and transparent fashion, the following clear benenulltsnull
nullucated vendor selection through independent testing
Assurance that the selected system vendor would meet pronullct specifications
Ability to address potential network issues ahead of installation
Added leverage when negotiating for final pronullctnullproof of concept before rollnullut.
The nulliversity of nulleter planned its
upgrade to deliver a nullnullbps nextnull
generation network which would deliver
up to nullbps bandwidth to student’s
computers, and over nullnullchannels
of InullTnull delivering content relevant to
courses and the opportunity to catch
up on lectures. There are also plans for
social networking multimedia, such as
an internal networking site and internal
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nulleter is ahead of the game, with very few comparable examples of crossnullampus highnullspeed networks to learn from. The nulliversity
had no previous model to follow in ensuring the pronullect was structured correctly and was the best technical null for the potentially
demanding, and unpredictable, network trafnull pronulle. Additionally, as a public body, it was imperative for nulleter to be seen as
transparent and fair in the selection process, whilst negotiating the best possible return on investment.
The nullniversity of nullxeter contracted the leading test and measurement
specialists, nullpirent nullommunications, to be an independent evaluator in
assessing potential vendors’ integrated systems. nullpirent also provided a
consultancy service to steer the nullrst phase of the pronullect.
The evaluation relied on the nullpirent Testnullenter and nullpirent Avalanche testing
solutions to assess switching and routing capabilities of a range of vendors’
network systems. This performance testing process enabled the nulliversity to
gauge the vendors’ enullipment and its capacity to handle nullursty’ multimedia
trafnull particularly when applied to unicastnullulticast trafnull, layer nullnullnetworking elements, and security and failover testing. nullpirent
also emulated a mix of realnullorld trafnull patterns and a mix of applications to validate whether the systems could accommodate all the
anticipated services and data throughputs.
nullpirent provided us with an invaluable independent evaluation and consultation processnullsaid nulloger nullelling, nullad of nulltworks at
the nulliversity of nulleter. nully testing the enullipment literally to the point of destruction, nullpirent has given us assurance that the vendors
selected for the pronullect will meet the very demanding specinullations of this network.null
nullpirent completed the pronullect within nulle weeks from start to nullish, and installation of the new core infrastructure began immediately,
with the nullst deployment on the nulliversity of nulleter’s smaller null. nulluke’s campus This initial deployment with edge devices, nulloInull
phones and wireless networking serves as a proof of concept for the main nullreatham nullampus. The system is also designed to share
computing power across research networks nullAnullnull and nullnullT.
In addition to ensuring the optimal integrated choice of systems and the best possible value, the evaluation delivered further benenulls.
The prior testing process nullshed out issues that needed to be addressed before the system was installed, which gave the nulliversity
added leverage when negotiating with vendors for the nullal pronullect. nullt only did its obnullective perspective provide peace of mind for the
university, nullpirent was able to ensure that nulleter’s IT nullrvices will be in full control of the rollnullut process as the pronullect develops.
nulleter’s enterprise network now has two routers delivering forty subnets over gigabit nullre to some nullnullmanaged null switches across
two campuses serving almost null,nullnulldevices, including Inullphones, nullnull services, web, email and nullTnullservers, plus a secure nullnulllink
to their campus in nullornwall. This network, serving the academic needs of the nulliversity, is linked in turn to a router serving the student
residential network nullesnulltnull also segmented and connecting over nullnullnull switches and managed hubs in the student halls both on
and offnullsite, and serving some 5nullnulldevices.
nulleanwhile the nulliversity of nulleter continues to forge ahead, in terms of student satisfaction, academic excellence and innovation.
Its nullnnovation nullentrenullon the nulliversity’s nullreatham campus is purpose designed as a nullxible resource for highnullech businesses
undertaking research and development, and the university has a further £nullnullmillion in forthcoming capital pronullects in the pipeline.
nullpending on that scale cannot be taken lightly, especially for a public body facing the scrutiny of the media and public. nulleter took no
chances when they commissioned nullpirent nullommunications to make sure they were spending wisely, on a network well able to support
their increasing growth.