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This has hit our radar a couple of times in the past few years. We’ve looked into outsourcing our resnet, but haven’t shown the savings (in our time or dollars). It’s been a couple of years since this has come up, and we’re curious if any other institutions have outsourced.

 

Along those lines, we’re also looking to serve wireless-only residence halls. The cost to wire/rewire to rooms is substantial. We had a building renovated over the summer, and did choose to add wired access per pillow, but left the patches disconnected in the closets. Connecting by request, we’ve had 12 requests to connect wired access, mostly for gaming consoles, in a 261 resident hall. We show 96 port switches in halls sit with ~90 ports down most of the time.

 

We’re also looking at providing gig-poe+ ports in the halls to drive cameras, card access, HVAC, and APs, etc., and leaving the 10/100 switches in place.

 

How have you tackled these questions and solutions in your institutions?

 

 

Regards,

David Ziemba

 

Network Engineer

ITS, Colorado College

14 E Cache Poudre

Colorado Springs, CO  80903

719.389.6063

david.ziemba@ColoradoCollege.edu

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Our reshall network services are delivered in-house but CATV is outsourced. 100% WiFi coverage in all 15 buildings with relatively new Cisco 3500/3600 APs. One wired port per pillow moving from all-ports active to by-request only to reduce ongoing cost and address wired low port usage. For new reshall construction we're leaning toward installing conduits from the ceiling to a blank face plate on the wall in the common room with a pull string to future proof in the event we need wiring. My take is that building wiring infrastructure is a 15-20 year investment but it's hard to predict technology needs beyond 5 years. -Scott
Message from spiro.mitsialis@mcgill.ca

We did the same thing with one of our residences last year.  Wiring was installed but not connected to switches.  We advertise wireless only.  We use MAC address authentication for gaming consoles and they go into a gaming user role.  We have only had to connect 1 gaming console to a wired port (did not work on the wireless network) last year.

 

We have another residence building being renovated and we will not install any wired ports.  Wireless only.  In future networks, we are looking at installing gigabit POE switches with enough ports for AP, HVAC, camera, etc…

 

Regards,

Spiro

 

 

Spiro Mitsialis

Manager, Network Infrastructure

McGill University NCS

Burnside Hall Room 200

805 Sherbrooke St West

Montreal, QC, H3A 0B9

 

Tel: (514) 398-7049

 

 

 

Hi David,

At Southwestern University we outsourced our ResNet to Apogee Telecommunications nearly a decade ago.  We were in a position at the time where we desperately needed a network hardware refresh and additional bandwidth in addition to additional staff to manage the growing issues revolving around managing the network, but didn't have the budget to accomplish these things.  Additionally, we were seeing a transition from a network we built for academic purposes in the mid/late nineties to a network that was being primarily used for entertainment purposes (many of which weren't legal).  Apogee provided us a solution to all these issues with a strategic budgeting plan going forward.  We've since renewed our contract twice -- most recently for 5 years.  The best part of this endeavor has been not having to worry about the unexpected.  We are currently investigating having Apogee take over the maintenance and support of academic and administrative networks on campus (wired and wireless).  These networks have become more utility-like services, and I believe they can do this better and cheaper through their economies of scale than we can locally at a smaller Liberal Arts school.

As for your question about wifi in new construction.  I still believe we should wire new facilities for at least port per room, if not port per pillow.  My reasoning is that as wifi network systems become cheaper and more intelligent in combination with the increasing density of devices, the best solution is going to be growing the number of AP's and shrinking the coverage to create micro-cell wifi in these high-density spaces.

Finally, I tend to agree that the demand for greater than 100Mb to the desktop isn't quite needed -- unless you have applications on-campus that students are truly utilizing from their rooms.  We find most of them are using these tools from academic spaces (labs, etc.) whether with their own technology or ours.  We are too seeing the proliferation of the need for POE ports in all of our buildings as we IP-enable vending, cameras, environmental controls, etc...

I'm happy to talk directly about any of the above info.

Cheers,
Todd
-- 
Todd K. Watson
Senior Director of Information Technology
Information Services
Southwestern University

That is very interesting that you only had 1 request for a port to be wired. How many drops were in that building?

On 11/15/2013 12:09 PM, Spiro Mitsialis wrote:

We did the same thing with one of our residences last year.  Wiring was installed but not connected to switches.  We advertise wireless only.  We use MAC address authentication for gaming consoles and they go into a gaming user role.  We have only had to connect 1 gaming console to a wired port (did not work on the wireless network) last year.

 

We have another residence building being renovated and we will not install any wired ports.  Wireless only.  In future networks, we are looking at installing gigabit POE switches with enough ports for AP, HVAC, camera, etc…

 

Regards,

Spiro

 

 

Spiro Mitsialis

Manager, Network Infrastructure

McGill University NCS

Burnside Hall Room 200

805 Sherbrooke St West

Montreal, QC, H3A 0B9

 

Tel: (514) 398-7049

 

 

 

We looked into outsourcing ResNet too but it was WAY too expensive.  We did the math and it was something 8x more expensive than doing it in-house.  Plus we were not confident that our students would get as good of service as they are getting now.

We also looked at not replacing our switches when we did our last LAN upgrade.  I was just going to stock pile my old 10\100 switches from the academic side and keep using the old ones in the ResHalls.  However, the vendor we used had a decent low end switch that made it affordable to upgrade all of the ResHalls too.  We use a Gb switch with PoE to uplink the building and power our APs and cameras.  Then we up-link the lower end stacks.  Initially we were thinking replacing switches in the ResHalls would cost us over $100K but when we found this option it dropped it down to $13K so we went for it.  I wanted to be able to manage it all from a single NMS and a single source for support.

I doubt we'll replace switches again in the ResHalls though.

John

John



Message from spiro.mitsialis@mcgill.ca

We actually had a few more request that we denied because we were able to accommodate them on wireless.  This was a pilot to see if we can do the same thing in other Residences.  Pilot was successful and in the future they will be wireless only.

 

We had about 300 drops in the building.  Initially we were going to wire all ports (one per student/pillow) but then decided to save money on the switches and put the investment into wireless.  Wired access has been dropping annually.

 

 

 

We figured in labor including benefits for our 1/3 staff member required to run ResNet.  We use a lot of student labor too which I didn't figure in as it is almost free to the college.  The other benefit is that it gives our students excellent work experience that definitely makes a difference when they are looking for jobs.  I just like working with students too.  It helps me to keep in touch with why I am employed by the college.

I few years ago I was looking through the goals of the college and upfront and center was that our goal was to develop the whole student not just scholastically.  In the last 2-3 years we have taken on an additional 4-5 more students in the infrastructure realm  as well.  This experience has given our students a significant edge.  Two of them have said that they would never have gotten the jobs they did without having worked with us.

The other benefit is we have eyes and ears out in the community.  When troubleshooting after hours I will often contact one of our students in the ResHalls to help me verify something is fixed.

I guess it depends on where you are with size and what you are able to do with your student help.  If we had to hire 3+ people just for ResNet then it might make sense to outsource.  It also depends on what are would be spending on hardware if you were to do a refresh of both wired and wireless in-house.  There is a huge difference in the cost of switches and wireless across the various vendors.  If a vendor that costs less will work for you then that will change the dynamic big time.

John


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