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Huawei Builds an Agile Campus Down Under

Background 

Southern Cross University (SCU) is a research-intensive Australian public university with locations in New South Wales and southern Queensland. Over 15,000 on-campus and distance education students attend SCU, which teaches to international students who are enrolled from 80 countries. SCU also collaborates with educational institutions in Singapore, China, and New Zealand.

The school ranked No. 1 in Australia based on the 2013 International Student Barometer (ISB) for international student support, with a 98.8 percent satisfaction level.

Challenges

The legacy campus network was over six years old which covered both campuses, supported all instruction efforts, research, and website services, and additionally provided information services for students and teachers. As the pace of educational development grew, the network needed to handle increasing data traffic and more user accessibility.

Low performance

Performance was determined to be too low (100 Mbit/s from desktops and 1 Gbit/s for the backbone, with minimal resilience and fault tolerance). The Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNET), which also includes SCU, had been recently upgraded to 10 Gbit/s.

Complex network

The network was very complex, with configurations and version upgrades deployed in silos, which constrained resources and limited workloads. The explosive increase of wireless and mobile usage had already required SCU to buy several independent Access Controllers (ACs) and connect them to the aggregation switches in bypass mode. This manual method required user configurations and data management to be synchronized separately, also leading to an increase in costs and a reduction in performance across the whole network.

Solution

The replacement project includes key features from several aspects.

High-Speed data network

Huawei upgraded to a high-speed data network to improve performance and productivity at all of the University’s campuses.

CloudEngine technology

Huawei’s world-class CloudEngine technology delivered applications and services, moving SCU into cloud computing.

HD telepresence and more

Huawei’s Agile Network Solution also includes:

  • High-Definition (HD) Telepresence system
  • Interactive classrooms
  • Cloud communications
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system across both campuses

Bandwidth

To satisfy bandwidth requirements and prepare for future network growth, Huawei deployed GE switches and 802.11ac Access Points (APs) at the access layer. The access switches connects to aggregation switches with 10 GE ports. The aggregation and core switches are upgradable to 40 GE and 100 GE in the future.

The new AP5030DN and AP8130DN 802.11ac general APs provide wireless coverage for all campuses while increasing up to 1.75 Gbit/s of switching capacity and high-speed wireless connections for all users. This is especially important in high-density areas such as conference rooms and stadiums.

Network simplicity

To simplify the network structure, Huawei implemented a Super Virtual Fabric (SVF) solution. It virtualizes each access switch into a line card and each wireless AP into a port. Using SVF, the entire network can be virtualized into a single, yet redundant virtual switch. By enabling automatic topology discovery and uniform configuration templates for wired and wireless devices, the access layer provides zero-touch configuration, automatic upgrades, and plug-and-play deployment, which simplifies network management and deployment.

Network access

Users access the network via a S12700 core Agile Switch that provides unified user management. Ethernet Network Processor (ENP) chips enable native WLAN AC capabilities; the S12700 integrates and unifies the functions of an AC and Ethernet switch while providing Terabit-level wireless data forwarding capabilities.

Next-generation firewall

Huawei’s Agile Switch also works with Huawei’s Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) for security association, implementing user-based security management and control, which also allows users to access networks in a more secure, reliable manner.

Benefits

Huawei’s Agile Network Solution offers many campus networking advantages by moving to cloud computing.

The flexible, secure architecture provides a high-quality information and communications infrastructure that meets current and future high-speed campus networking needs.

The Huawei S12700 core Agile Switch improves user management for ever-increasing data traffic.

The updated solution assures higher capacity and high-speed network performance regardless of campus location with easier expansion as the student population increases.