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Mainstream Network Model: Guidelines to Upgrading Campus Networks

Tuesday, January 1, 2002


This document presents a "mainstream network model" aimed at a medium sized college or university. It is intended to identify designs and issues for consideration by local planners when developing a specific network plan. The high level goals infusing this model include:

  • Reliability, the ability for the network to deliver solid core infrastructure to support critical services;
  • Scalability, the ability for the network to be expanded to meet growth in usage;
  • Full function, the ability of the network to provide the full complement of network based services needed by colleges and universities;
  • Continuous evolution, the ability of routine life-cycle maintenance of the network to gracefully introduce continuing network advances; Poised for the future, the ability for campuses to add significant new function to the network, even functions not yet identified; and
  • Standards, the ability to identify staff and vendors to manage the network at best possible costs.

This model does not intend to present adequate detail to serve as a plan itself, but should provide a checklist of issues to consider and a set of "rules of thumb" to guide decisions planners must make when developing a thorough campus network design. With a focus on principles as much as detailed specifications, planners should be able to scale this model to meet the needs of smaller campuses, larger campuses and even multi-campus systems.

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