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Planning for the Future of Your Campus Network

Posted by Tim Yanda on Mar 4, 2020

When it comes to higher education, network planning and budgeting can be the most stressful time of the year for network operators. The needs always seem to outpace the available resources, so prioritizing projects and balancing different voices become especially challenging.

This article discusses three solutions that attack common network challenges for the short and long term.

Short Term: Adding Fiber Capacity Quickly and Cost-Effectively

Bandwidth demand grew more than expected last year. There is an immediate need; a forklift upgrade is out of the question.

Introducing WDM passives to your network can be an ideal solution. For example, with a single pair of fiber cables running a 10G link you can quickly and easily increase its capacity up to 40x with DWDM passives. Not only is the upfront cost far less than alternative solutions, but they are also simple, reliable designs that require little to no maintenance or service after deployment. This saves your techs from being overwhelmed.

intermediate-Term— Opening your Infrastructure

If you are interested in adding flexibility and scalability to your network to prepare for future bandwidth demands, open network solutions might be the answer for you. For example, our fabric expansion solution set allows you to take advantage of the same high-performance spine-and-leaf architecture that many large data centers have used for several years. In addition to high scalability, this solution also features zero-touch provisioning, which makes turning up new services quicker while reducing errors.

Long Term — Are you Ready for 5G?

Your historic campus is beautiful, an enduring source of pride for students and faculty alike — but it is not necessarily conducive to supporting 5G technology. Network operators across industries are struggling with how to deliver true 5G service inside and outside buildings.

The mmWave frequency spectrum allocated to 5G can have trouble permeating interior walls (especially the solid brick and stone walls throughout old campuses). Therefore, it will become very difficult to deliver the reliable, low-latency service that 5G devices require.

Overcoming this challenge will likely require a dense infrastructure of micro-cell antennas. While there may not be a need for this technology for several years, it makes a lot of sense to start identifying ideal locations for antenna deployment soon. This way you can head off some of the deployment battles that other network operators are already facing.