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Addis Ababa University Builds a Modern Network

With the campus size and number of teachers and students increasing year after year at Addis Ababa University (AAU), network ports and bandwidth became insufficient. By 2012, the network was no longer able to meet expected service requirements.

The university, which built its first campus network in 2007, has an enrollment of nearly 50,000 students and is the largest state university in Ethiopia. With 17 branch campuses across the country and projections for continuing growth, AAU committed to building a modern campus ICT network that would establish a new national benchmark.

High Capacity Requirements

As the demand for mobile education and High-Definition (HD) video conferencing increased, bandwidth bottlenecks with freezing video streams and slow download speeds became frequent annoyances.

To meet the requirements for stable, real-time HD Video-on-Demand (VoD) and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, AAU required an upgraded, highly reliable campus network.

AAU Turns to Huawei

After conducting an in-depth analysis of AAU’s requirements, Huawei specified a network solution that provides high bandwidth and room for expansion. To support redundancy across multiple campuses, Huawei S12700 Agile Switches were deployed at the core layer, including the use of Cluster Switch System Generation 2 (CSS2) for 1+N MPU backup. The 1+N MPU method guarantees that multi-chassis services will run as specified so long as at least one Main Processing Unit (MPU) in each chassis is running normally.

Increasing Access Rate

Huawei constructed the AAU network architecture at the core, aggregation, and access layers specifically to overcome worst-case issues, such as frame freezing in HD conferences. Upgraded from 100 Mbit/s to 1,000 Mbit/s, AAU’s unified network simplifies the data forwarding process and improves network efficiency within and between buildings, libraries, labs, offices, and dormitories.

Built around Huawei Ethernet Network Processor (ENP) chips, the S12712 Agile Switches are designed to support bursty applications traffic. ENP chips support low latency and large cache sizes for lossless packet forwarding, which are necessary to support high data rate HD and VoD services.

Agile Network Expansion

In traditional campus networks, separate wired and wireless networks result in heavy operating workloads for management and maintenance personnel. Fault location, in particular, is predictably time consuming.

The S12712, with native Access Control (AC), addresses these problems by supporting converged wired and wireless deployments. The native AC feature enables the unified management of wired and wireless network planes and increases network O&M efficiency by at least 50 percent while reducing maintenance costs. By design, the S12712 prepares end-users for future growth by providing a scalable campus network solution that supports End-to-End (E2E) network expansion.

Cloud computing, Big Data analytics, and mobile connectivity are gaining popularity in the education industry. Huawei helped AAU build a smart education campus network that has increased the access bandwidth by ten times for teachers and students and reduced the maintenance workload by 40 percent.

By Chen Heng

Switch Marketing Support, Enterprise Network Product Line, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.