Tender for Network Upgrade Approved

by C. Y. Kwok

Recently, tenders have been invited for a total network upgrade solution which includes a comprehensive network upgrade plan, plus the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of all the networking hardware and software required for the upgrade. After careful consideration, the tender finally went to the PCCW with the employment of Cisco products. Within the next 6 to 36 months, the CityU campus network will undergo a tremendous upgrade and soon all end users will be able to enjoy a new advanced network with high performance, resilience, flexibility and scalability.

The network upgrade is targeted to replace the existing ATM network switches (both at the core and the edge), and to merge the 2 backbones into a single new one which will deploy various state-of-the-art network technologies such as gigabit networking, multiplayer switching, end-to-end QoS (quality of service), traffic policing, and IP multicast support. We expect the new network will not only have sufficient capacity to meet the network bandwidth requirements of all users for at least the next 5 years, but also feature high performance, availability, reliability, and manageability. Furthermore, the upgrade will provide 10/100 Mbps desktop connectivity for over 4,000 computer systems as well as multiple Gigabit Ethernet uplinks for each of the 60+ wiring closets.

The network upgrade consists of the following 3 phases:

  1. Phase I has already commenced and will last for 6 months.
  2. Phase II will commence some time after 1 July 2001 and should be completed before 30 June 2002. This phase will overlap with Phase I.
  3. Phase III will commence on 1 July 2002 and last for 6 months.

In Phase 1, the following areas will be covered:

  • Setting up a new network core consisting of a pair of layer-3 Gigabit switches
  • Setting up a server farm consisting of a pair of layer-2/3 Gigabit switches to which all the central hosts and servers will be connected
  • Setting up 2 groups of distribution layer switches which will route IP traffic between the access layer switches and the core
  • Upgrading the access layer switches currently supporting the network connections of the majority of academic departments

Around 2,500 network ports will be upgraded to 10/100 Mbps during this phase.