Gigabit speeds for WIT in €650,000 network contract

22 Feb 2006

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has signed a three-year contract with Lan Communications for supply and installation of networking systems for its campus expansion in a deal worth an estimated €650,000.

The contract involves the upgrade of institute’s network core and provision of wireless connectivity around the campus. The new infrastructure will serve more than 12,000 students, researchers and staff and is said to be one of the largest deployments of desktop Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps) technology in the country to date.

WIT is now one of the largest educational facilities in the country, having expanded its campus to cover 150 acres, including an extension of the Nurses Building and the establishment of the National IPv6 Centre.

The Irish National IPv6 Centre is situated at WIT’s Telecommunications Systems & Software Group (TSSG). The vision for the centre is to establish an open collaboration on IPv6, linked to an industrial base, working on research and development issues in Ireland.

The Institute has a progressive view of technology as Aidan McGrath, IT manager, explained. “Upgrading and extending the reach of our network infrastructure reflects our commitment to a research-centric learning environment, which demands the latest technology to support it. Deploying 10GB at the network core and delivering Gigabit to the desktop provides students with highest speed and most reliable access to computing resources and the internet, reflecting our view that technology is a critical part of the educational process,” he says.

According to Donal Daly, sales manager at Lan Communications, WIT’s network core is based on Cisco technology incorporating Catalyst 6500s series switches, which offer high availability and integrated security for deployment in campus environments.

A range of optional add-ons means that the network can be used in future for delivering converged multimedia applications such as voice over IP. It also allows for the addition of new users as WIT expands and grows.

To accommodate connectivity between its campus buildings, WIT has leased dark fibre from HEAnet, the internet service provider for the third-level sector in Ireland.

As part of the contract, Lan Communications has also deployed dual band (11 Mbps/54 Mbps) wireless access points throughout the campus. These use Power over Ethernet which means there is no need to run separate electrical cabling to the access points, which are located in areas such as canteens, staff rooms and libraries.

“Our expansion programme is well on track and we have already sourced products and services valued at €320,000 from Lan Communications in the last number of months,” said Aidan McGrath, IT manager with WIT.

By Gordon Smith