Improvement of Weak Points of the Campus Network

by Raymond Poon

The campus network upgrade was completed last summer and has been functioning in full scale since then. After several months of close monitoring on the performance of the network, we have identified some weak points that require immediate improvement or else single point of failure or security problems may result. The following networking equipment are needed to rectify the situations:

  1. Upgrade of Core Routers

    Existing routers are barely adequate for supporting routing of up to 20 virtual Local Area Networks (LANs) and no backup router is currently in place. Any breakdown of a router would cause a single point of failure; hence it is essential to buy a new core router for the backup purpose. Meanwhile, of the existing routers, two are not powerful enough to handle the network traffic and therefore they are needed to be upgraded.

  2. Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) at Wiring Closets

    There are around 60 wiring closets in various locations on campus for keeping networking devices for departments. The instability of local electrical power often results in a reset of the networking devices in the wiring closets. This at times will disrupt the network services of some departments and also damage the devices there. To ensure the stability and availability of network services and to protect the equipment, it is necessary to install the UPS in all wiring closets.

  3. Network-based Intrusion Detection Tools

    Intrusion into the network has become a major threat to the network security. It is necessary to have a network-based intrusion detection tool as a frontline protection for the network against hacking activities from the Internet.

  4. Virus detection Tools for the Central E-mail Server

    Despite the fact that we have PC site license for anti-virus software and its virus signature file is being updated everyday, almost every week there are still files on departmental servers and PCs that are infected by some well-known viruses. Virus detection tools on the central e-mail server is therefore required to scan all incoming e-mail especially that with file attachments in order to reduce the chance of contracting viruses through e-mail. Once a virus is found, the e-mail with the attachment containing the virus will be removed and the sender will be notified. While this will inevitably cause a drop in e-mail server performance as it takes time to perform a virus scan on every incoming e-mail, we nevertheless believe it is worth the effort as prevention is always better than cure.

The upgrade is nowhere near the end. As a matter of fact, a major campus technology plan is already on the drawing board waiting for the approval of funding later this year. With sufficient funds on hand, it is thus possible to embark on a full-scale upgrade of the campus network to the next generation. By then, the University campus network will demonstrate a significant improvement in terms of the transmission speed, reliability, stability, security and much more.