$22 million upgrade of the University of Otago's computer
network and major expansion of wireless areas will strengthen
Dunedin's tertiary education industry.
Mike Harte, the university director of information technology
services, said the major upgrade would not only strengthen
the network and the city's education industry, but would also
provide ''a boost for the Dunedin economy''.
An international company, Dimension Data, which was
undertaking the upgrade project, had set up a branch office
in the city because of this project.
University officials said about 3km of new underground
ducting had already been added to about 5km of ducting.
And organisers would within about a week begin rolling out
21.5km of fibre-optic cable, sourced from Scotland, as part
of the local area network (LAN) upgrade.
A financial report tabled at a recent university capital
development committee meeting stated that $15.9 million was
being spent on the LAN upgrade, and $6,064,000 was earmarked
for a closely related expansion of the university's wireless
Officials said the overall project, which had involved
extensive earlier planning and testing, was about halfway
through its timeline.
And the creation of a new network core, or ''centralised
infrastructure'', was nearing completion.
The deployment of ''backhaul fibre'', which connects all of
the local network with the network core, had already begun,
and was expected to be largely complete by mid-year.
Mr Harte said the first users would join the new network
about August, and the ''vast majority'' of users would be
included by the end of next year, when the overall project
would also be ''substantially complete''.
A ''significant modernisation'' of the wired network was
The associated wireless network ''refresh and expansion
project'' involved a big increase in ''wireless capacity for
staff and students'', he said.
Maurice Gaut, university network services group manager, said
the network upgrade would result in an at least 10-fold
increase in bandwidth, significantly boosting connection
speeds, including for data transfers.
The upgrade meant significant ''investment in Otago'' and
would increase the security of the university network, also
making it more ''competitive'' and more attractive for staff
and students, he said.
University officials said the number of wireless access
points (WAPs) would be increased from about 700 to 3000.
These devices were installed on the ceilings in buildings,
and in some outdoor areas to provide a Wi-Fi signal to which
users could connect.
WAPs were already installed in all university libraries and
university-owned residential colleges and these would be
replaced with latest-generation equipment providing ''better
signal coverage and faster network speeds''.
Wireless coverage would also be extended to all main
university buildings of all the university's campuses.