Lancs upgrades for lectures on IPTV

Lancaster University has completed a £5m network upgrade to cope with rising bandwidth demands and to enable next-generation services such as IPTV and voice over IP.

Lancaster University has completed a £5m network upgrade to cope with rising bandwidth demands and to enable next-generation services such as IPTV and voice over IP.

"We plan to film lectures and make audio and video viewing available over the network directly to students' PCs and laptops. Traffic volumes are therefore climbing, and we needed an infrastructure to cope with these ever-increasing bandwidth requirements," said Barry Forde, deputy director of computers in Lancaster University's department of information systems.

The upgrade involved the installation of Category 6 cabling and Foundry Networks' BigIron RX backbone switches with 10Gbyte upgradeability, IPv6 compatibility and multicast capabilities.

With 15,000 students accessing its 100mbps network, the university's old infrastructure was starting to struggle, with high levels of latency, jitter and packet loss when using applications such as video.

The university identified the need for a network that could sustain high bit rates and deliver up to 10gbps feeds to different buildings on the campus.

Because the university needed to manage bandwidth but did not want to prevent students from using the network for legitimate purposes, it introduced a rating system to determine who its heaviest users were.

The system can be used to determine whether the network is being used for illegal downloads of films, for example, which could contribute to high levels of traffic. Network managers can then take immediate action to prevent such activities.

Optimising network performance >>

Networking: the Category 6 question >>

Steer clear of category 6 cabling, says BT >>

Lancaster University >>

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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