The Progress of the Network Upgrade

by Dick Wong

As mentioned in the previous article on Campus Network Upgrade ( Ref: Network Computing Issue 54 - December 2007 ), the University’s campus network is currently undergoing a major upgrade, from CTNET III to CTNET IV. The network upgrade consists of 2 phases. Phase 1 of the network upgrade was successfully completed in September 2007. In this phase, the old Gigabit network core was upgraded to a new 10 Gigabit network core with all the Gigabit Ethernet connections between the core and distribution layer switches replaced by 10 Gigabit Ethernet links. The switching power of each switch in the network core was also upgraded from 128 Gbps to 720 Gbps. Apart from bandwidth upgrade for meeting the increasing network demand, the new network core will provide the advanced network features that is indispensible in modern network infrastructure. They include enhanced QoS, Flex Link, Scavenger Traffic Control, Native IPv6 support in hardware, Network Virtualization, etc, In order to set up the proper function of the network core and to verify the upgrade works according to design, over 2,000 access switch ports in some wiring closets were selected to be upgraded from 10/100 Mbps to 10/100/1000 Mbps for end-user connections.

Phase 2 of the network upgrade has just been started in April 2008. Another 7,000 access switch ports in the remaining wiring closets will be upgraded to 10/100/1000 Mbps in this phase. The scope of the work in this phase is so huge that nearly all the departments in every building will be involved. In order to minimize the impact on users, the Computing Services Centre (CSC) has arranged all the tasks that require a partial network shutdown to be performed at weekends. The CSC appreciates departments’ cooperation and apologizes for any inconvenience the upgrade may cause. If everything goes smoothly, this phase would be finished by the end of June 2008. After that, all network connections provided by the CSC will be able to support up to 1 Gbps. We are confident that, with the dedication and the experience of the CSC staff, our network infrastructure will become one of the most advanced and reliable ones among all universities in the world.

Some facts and figures for the 2-year Campus Network Upgrade Project include:

  • 14 Cisco 6509E Chassis with sup720 in the core
  • 56 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports in the core
  • 200 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports in the core
  • 36 Cisco 3750 access switch with 1Gbps redundant uplinks
  • 20 Cisco 6504E (sup32) access switch with 1Gbps redundant uplinks
  • 11 Cisco 6506E (sup32) access switch with 1Gbps redundant uplinks
  • 10 Cisco 6506E (sup32) access switch with 10Gbps redundant uplinks
  • 9 Cisco 6509E (sup32) access switch with 10Gbps redundant uplinks
  • 9000 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet switch ports installed
  • 80 wiring closets