New network set to save University of Warwick 15m

Tags: network | video conferencing | infrastructure | WLAN | Wi-fi | surveillance

What was the challenge?

The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading research universities. It’s strategic goal is to become one of the world’s top 50 universities by 2015, along with becoming an undisputed world leader in Research, being an International Portal and being a more effective generator of income.

To achieve its strategic goals the University needed to ensure its IT and networking facilities were fit for purpose. Ever increasing demands from the user community challenged the design assumptions of the installed network, leading to a decision to invest in a modular, expandable network solution. The University has an appetite and ambition to continue to grow and strong prudent financial management allowed Warwick to make this investment in a tough economic climate.

The University had decided that a Cisco based infrastructure should be deployed and it should offer both fixed and wireless secure access for students, staff and visitors. The network needed to be resilient and future proofed to meet the increasing needs of the users. A procurement project was initiated to identify and select partners to undertake the project and provide ongoing strategic input.

BT were able to demonstrate a proven track record of similar successful network deployments as well as being Cisco’s preferred UK partner. BT’s skill set most closely matched the University’s demanding requirements including our ability to work in partnership with the Cisco Advanced Services team.

The solution

The network, based on Cisco technology, features the very latest Nexus switches at the core. It extends to 35,000 ports or access points and encompasses wi-fi access to students, staff and visitors.

The solution was implemented over a 14 week period in the summer – a stunningly quick and successful deployment for a public sector organisation.

The solution provides a high capacity, highly available and highly resilient network pre-enabled with an array of advanced services such as Video Conferencing, Surveillance, Intelligent Buildings and Telepresence. Crucially, it allows students and staff faster access to University applications, services, resources and the internet.

Access points are located in all student campus accommodation, throughout the university in lecture theatres, reading areas and touchdown study points. The Wireless access or WLAN provides secure authenticated access for staff, students and visitors with a VPN capability enabling remote off site access to the network.

Results & the future

Benefits realised by the University:
■ Estimated savings of £15million over 11 years due to the future proofed capability of the network
■ Network performance speeds have increased by a factor of 8
■ It’s predicted that 90% of student driven internet traffic will be video in 5 years – the network supports this growth
■ Ability to hold global video conferences with overseas students to help recruitment and on line induction programmes
■ A virtual elimination of calls to the helpdesk reporting issues with the network
■ The ability to increase & develop on-line course delivery and content presentation

"This project is viewed as a tremendous success. In addition to very impressive implementation and an improvement in core network performance, we are now beginning to see benefits from advanced applications. Video and large data set capabilities have improved significantly and we are seeing non-technical benefits through our evolving strategic relationships with BT and Cisco".

Mike Roberts, IT Director

About the University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading research Universities; it provides Higher education to over 21,000 students and has 5,000 staff. The University boasts a lively, modern campus, first class sports facilities and the largest Arts Centre outside London.