Planning for the Future of Your Campus Network

planning for the future of your campus network

Network planning and budgeting season can be the most stressful time of the year for network operators, especially in higher education. The needs always seem to outpace the available resources, so prioritizing projects and balancing different voices become especially challenging. This article discusses three solutions that attack common network challenges in the near term, long term, and somewhere in between.

Short Term: Adding Fiber Capacity Quickly, Cost-Effectively

Despite all your due diligence and planning last year, bandwidth demand still grew more than expected last year. You’re facing an immediate need, and a forklift upgrade is out of the question, from a budgeting standpoint.

Introducing WDM passives to your network can be an ideal solution. If you have, say, a single pair of fiber cables running a 10G link, you can quickly and easily increase its capacity up to 40x with DWDM passives. Not only is the upfront cost far less than alternative solutions, but their simple, reliable design requires little to no maintenance and service after deployment, so your techs won’t be (more) overburdened.

Intermediate Term: Opening Your Infrastructure

If you’re interested in adding flexibility and scalability to your network to prepare for future bandwidth demands, open network solutions might be the right solution for you. For example, our fabric expansion solution set allows you to take advantage of the same high-performance spine-and-leaf architecture that many large data centers have used for several years. In addition to near-infinite scalability, this solution also features zero-touch provisioning, which makes turning up new services much quicker, to save your techs even more time and reduce the possibility of error.

Long Term: Getting Ready for 5G?

Your historic campus is a beautiful, enduring source of pride for students and faculty alike, but it’s not necessarily conducive to supporting 5G technology in the future. In fact, network operators across industries are struggling with how to deliver true 5G service inside buildings, as well as outside. The mmWave frequency spectrum allocated to 5G can have trouble permeating interior walls (especially the solid brick and stone walls throughout your beautiful old campus). Therefore, it will become doubly difficult to deliver the reliable, low-latency service that 5G devices require.

Overcoming this challenge will likely require a dense infrastructure of micro-cell antennas. While you may not have a need for this technology for several years, it makes a lot of sense to start identifying ideal locations for antenna deployment. This way, you can head off some of the deployment battles that other network operators are already facing.

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