Network Upgrade Project
As part of a multi-year project, ITS is working on several upgrades to the campus
network infrastructure this summer and early fall. The goal of these enhancements
is to increase network security, provide faster connectivity throughout campus, and
increase the wireless saturation in academic buildings and residence halls.
During these upgrades, users should expect interrupted connectivity and some outages to specific buildings or, at times, the entire campus. ITS will work to minimize these outages during business hours when possible. See the list below for a schedule of project work and an estimate of outage times. This schedule will be updated as phases are completed and timelines are further solidified.
- Weekend of July 25-26: The IT team will be working days in an attempt to do most of
the work while offices are closed.
- July 25-26: Stark Learning Center. Parts of the building will lose connectivity while new switches are installed. Areas affected could be down up to nine hours.
- July 25: Darte Center & Henry Student Center. Parts of these buildings will lose connectivity while new switches are installed. Areas affected could be down up to five hours.
- Weekend of Aug. 1-2: The IT team will be working days in an attempt to do most of
the work while offices are closed.
- Aug. 1-2: Stark Learning Center, Breiseth Hall, and UCOM. Parts of these buildings will lose connectivity while new switches are installed. Areas affected could be down up to five hours.
- Week of Aug. 3-Aug 8: The IT team will be working nights and early mornings in an
attempt to do most of the work while offices are closed. They will be setting up the
new network, which will run parallel to the old one. The tentative calendar for this
- Aug. 4: Conyngham Hall. The network could be down for up to four hours.
Aug. 7, Aug. 8, and Aug. 9: Breiseth Hall and Stark Learning Center (and all buildings associated with that network line). Again, the network could be down for up to five hours.
- Week of Aug. 10-15: If the above schedule holds, the next step is for the IT Network team to be working evenings and early mornings switching buildings off the old network onto the new one. Again the network, in different areas as the changeover occurs, may be down for up to three hours in each area. Again, the team will be working hours so that disruption to offices can be minimized.
- Weekend of Aug. 15 and 16: If the above schedule holds, the third step is for the IT team to test the new network. Again, there may be sporadic periods when the network may be down across campus.
- During September the IT team will be working weekends rewiring the closets across campus. Again, there may be sporadic periods when the network may be down across campus.
- Final element of the project will be to rebuild the firewall. The old firewall will be up throughout the project, but the upgrade will require that a new one be built. That will be TBA.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of factors that made this project a necessity, including the cost of maintaining aging equipment, concerns about network security, and a lack of capacity in our Internet traffic and file storage. Students are bringing more and more devices to campus that rely on the network for functionality and put an increasing strain on network resources. It was time to upgrade the network to better serve the campus community.
The University has provided substantial resources to upgrade much of the core network architecture, including servers, storage space on the SAN, wireless access points, switches, and UPS battery backups in several buildings.
Along with an increase in total bandwidth, new network architecture will speed up connectivity between buildings and the external network. When you access the network on campus, your connection passes through several waypoints before getting to the main Internet pipe. By increasing the capacity of these waypoints, access to the Internet becomes faster. Efforts are also being made to manage Internet traffic more efficiently, which will also lead to increased access speeds.
By upgrading our storage area network (SAN), ITS will be able to provide sufficient space to users for file shares and departmental storage. For the past several years, we were continuously hitting the limit of the current SAN. A larger, more advanced SAN will also allow for faster data transfer rates and the opportunity for future growth to allow us to meet increasing needs for special projects and departmental storage.
Several pieces are being put into place this summer and over the course of the next year that will increase network security. Collectively, these enhancements will be able to better monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic for viruses, spyware, and other suspicious activity. Improvements will make it harder for unauthorized users to access our network, increase overall data security, and make it easier to identify and isolate threats.
This summer marks a large phase of a multi-year wireless saturation project that will see major increases in campus dorms. The two areas that will see the most improvement from this summer’s work are Evans Hall and University Towers. Residents should notice several additional access points when they come to campus in the fall and increases in speed and connectivity.
In an effort to better define our wireless networks and provide the best access to all users on campus, the wireless has been modified over the summer from two to four separate networks. When you look to access wireless on campus, you will see the following networks:
- Student.wilkes.edu – This is the newest wireless network and is meant solely for current students. It will provide faster speeds than the guest network and a more secure connection. There is no special configuration needed, but students do need to login with their Wilkes username and password.
- Wilkes.edu – This connection is now meant only for faculty and staff use. It is a secure, internal connection that requires an updated configuration and Wilkes credentials. Instructions for connecting to this network can be found on the ITS website or by calling the Help Desk.
- Guest.wilkes.edu – This is the most open connection on campus and requires a generic password for access. (The password can be found in the IT Help tab inside the MyWilkes portal.) This connection is meant for visitors to campus and for student devices that are not capable of connecting to the student network (i.e. gaming devices). Guests who wish to access this network should obtain the password from a Wilkes employee who grants them permission from IT.
- Events.wilkes.edu – This is a special connection that can be requested for a specific building for an event that requires an outside group to have access to the wireless network. This request should be made through the Help Desk. This connection will only appear in those specific areas during the event and will have a special password just for that group.
Please refer to the Upgrade Schedule above for outage dates and descriptions. If you cannot find your outage on the list, or it is unclear if you should still have access during one of these times, feel free to contact the Help Desk (x4357) to report your issue and get clarification.
The Upgrade Schedule is our best estimate of outage times, but it’s possible that some outages may extend over the estimated period. Please contact the Help Desk (x4357) in these cases. They should have the most current information about what resources are still down during the project duration and be able to identify your issue as part of the existing outage or a new issue.