Network Connection to the Outside World

Posted on: July 28, 2017

I want to share some work recently completed by our Network team.  UT Austin’s connectivity to the outside world just took two big steps forward and few people noticed, just as intended.

New routers in the primary and backup Network Operations Centers (NOC) began running on July 16. The new routers boast 100Gbps connections, speeding both commodity and research traffic. Whether connecting to Canvas, Internet2, or the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), the new connection speed is 10 times faster than the previous routers. While they served with distinction, the old routers had components ranging from four to ten years old, and in router age, our previous equipment was simply designed for a different era and purpose. The new equipment was funded by a UT System grant and is expected to perform for at least four years before substantial investments are needed. This investment increases our capacity significantly and propels the university to the forefront of connectivity.

It almost goes without saying how crucial the Internet is to academic, research, and business processes. With every new cloud service, connectivity and speed of connection become more important. So it should come as no surprise that we have two of these routers in different campus locations to keep things running without fail. Each router connects individually to our primary Internet Service Provider (ISP) with one connection in Austin and another in Dallas. Until July 16, that is, because along with the new routers, a backup ISP also was placed into service. Now, if there are issues with the primary, there is a backup to take over.

Both routers and backup service were needed and will be well-employed as they help bring the university to the leading edge in connectivity. Special thanks to ITS Networking, and especially Charles Spurgeon, the university’s senior network architect.

In case you didn’t know, the university developed a building and facility access policy over the last few months. For students, faculty, staff, and university affiliates, it will require carrying your UT ID card at all times: Your ID is your key to enter most campus buildings during restricted access hours.

The policy calls for restricting hours of building access in the interest of safety and for creating celebrated (main) entrances for general-purpose classroom (GPC) and non-GPC buildings. All buildings with GPCs were part of the university’s initial phase to install and implement building access control systems (BACS) at each respective buildings’ celebrated entrances. Over the next couple of years, all buildings will eventually have at least one entrance that is equipped with proximity card readers and video cameras. Thus, it is recommended that you carry your UT ID at all times, especially if you need to access a building after regular operating hours due to your class or work schedules. (See related FAQs here.)