Currently, the university’s network is maintained by individual colleges, schools and units (CSU) and needs modernization in order to remain operational. The university has contracted with WTC, a small firm specializing in higher education, to perform an evaluation and analysis of the university’s current IT network that provides Wi-Fi and internet access to students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests. The Next Generation Network Project is being performed now due to the results of several external and internal audits that highlight the risk of the university’s aging network which also identified inconsistencies in the quality, security, and reliability of the network.
The Next Generation Network Project will address data network issues identified by both internal and external reviews providing:
- Improved service for students, faculty, and staff by providing consistently good wireless and wired networks
- Increased security with a focus on protecting faculty research and university intellectual property by responding rapidly to threats
- Greater operational efficiency enabling College, School, and Unit IT staff to focus on local missions, while shifting the burden of compliance, accountability, and budgets to central ITS
The university operates a large and decentralized network consisting of more than 13,000 components to support over 300,000 end user devices. Changing how the network and devices using it operate requires careful planning and years to execute. The project has been divided into phases. Each phase will be approved by university leadership before proceeding. Only the planning phase has been approved and funded.
Phase 1: Planning (approved)
Assess the state of centrally-maintained and distributed network, architectures and technologies, and organizations. Work with the university IT community to formulate recommendations, offerings, plans and budgets. WTC has been contracted to assist with this phase and will complete work in early summer of 2022.
Phase 2: Preparation (not approved)
Acquire products, vendors, and staffing to convert to the new technologies, operational and funding models identified in the plans and as approved from Phase 1.
Phase 3: Execution (not approved)
Implement the plans according to the timeline provided, with Independent Validation and Verification (IV&V) throughout the implementation. Expected to take three to five years.
You can contact the Next Generation Network Project by sending an email to: NextGenNet@austin.utexas.edu