The Office of Information Technology is actively pursuing the following projects and initiatives.
The IBW project includes data communications wiring upgrades to allow moving from shared 10 Mb/s networks to higher speed switched networks, as well as providing networking connections to locations that currently have no access to the campus data backbone network. This is a multi-year initiative that seeks to address the most critical data communications wiring needs.
Phase I brings the Next Generation Backbone (NGB) to 35 campus buildings. The benefits include the ability to increase the bandwidth to departments using cheaper interfaces, e.g., Fast Ethernet instead of FDDI; the opportunity to simplify the departmental networking infrastructure by utilizing the backbone's centralized routing features instead of having departments maintain their own routing
equipment and expertise (40 units now receive centralized routing services and 13 units maintain a departmental router); and more efficient use of campus backbone fiber by aggregating a building's connections at a local building switch instead of at a distant core location.
The RFP-selected vendor for NGB is Foundry Networks. Our network topology consists of a core of seven switches interconnected by redundant gigabit ethernet links and extending fast ethernet and installing switches in 35 campus buildings. NGB Phase I went into production on August 7, 2001. All connections to the old FDDI Backbone were successfully migrated to NGB, and the FDDI Backbone was shut down on September 30, 2002.
Phase II will extend the benefits of NGB to an additional 60 buildings as well as upgrade the speed of the connections to some of the Phase I buildings. We have planned for a 3-year buildout of Phase II. In the first year we will do 66% of the fiber plant upgrades, and 33% of the equipment installations. In the second year we will do 33% of the fiber plant upgrades, and 33% of the equipment installations. In the final year we will do the final 33% of the equipment installations. We have started work on the backbone fiber cable plant enhancements required for this phase.
The campus WAN consists of the following primary connections: CALREN-2, which is the high speed research network that connects the UCs, Stanford, Cal Tech, and USC, the commercial Internet (through CALREN-2), and Abilene, the national research and education network (also through CALREN-2). In FY 2002/03, the Optical Networking Infrastructure (ONI) will replace the CALREN-2 infrastructure.
The design goals of ONI are:
- Higher speed, more capacity, and better redundancy: Two statewide backbones 2.5Gb/s for K-12, Community Colleges, CSU, and ISP connection, and 10 Gb/s for UCs, Internet2, high speed research connections. Each backbone will have both a central valley route and a coastal route. (CalREN-2 has one 2.5 Gb/s Southern ring and one Northern ring that are connected by a 622 Mb/s central valley route).
- Higher speed and more capacity: Two separate 1 Gb/s primary connections from campus to each backbone. (We currently have one 622 Mb/s primary connection and one 45 Mb/s backup connection).
- Route and equipment redundancy: Primary and backup connections will traverse different routes to different end-points. Primary and backup connections are from different campus gear to different backbone gear. (We currently have route diversity with a primary connection point at USC and a backup connection at UCI.)
- Different protocols: IP over Wave-length Division Multiplexing (WDM) and dark fiber. (CalREN-2 uses ATM and SONET).
During the past academic year, in an effort coordinated by the Office of Information Technology, a broad-based group of campus information technology (IT) staff, faculty, and administrators developed a set of IT priorities highly deserving of consideration for new funding and implementation during the forthcoming academic year. Consultation on these priorities began in the Fall of 2001 through the efforts of the Information Technology Planning Group (ITPG), a staff committee. The members of the ITPG were asked to list their IT priorities, and these were refined and debated through Winter Quarter 2002. The final set of ITPG priorities were delivered to the Information Technology Board (ITB), which then took these and other data, and went through their own review process. The ITB developed its priority list, which was voted upon in Spring Quarter 2002. The two priority lists were presented to the OIT, and the OIT Director presented a final recommendation
of priorities to the Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor. The highest two priorities, the UCSB Directory Staff and the Authorization Software Package, were funded in November 2002.
The OIT proposes a project to enhance the use of information technology in teaching and learning:
- To encourage the appropriate and effective use of educational technology by faculty members.
- To deliver innovative, flexible teaching and learning tools and support.
- To ensure a baseline of service and support across campus.
- To promote effective communication between faculty members and information technology staff persons on campus.
The first step for this project is to form a working group (Academic Technology Working Group) consisting of instructional technology service providers, faculty, and senior administration representation to:
- Review campus academic computing services in the light of the White Paper
The Future of Technology and Learning in the University, by Bruce Bimber, Kevin Almeroth, Dorothy Chun, Andrew Flanagin, Alan Liu, and Rob Patton.
- Coordinate the various campus services supporting instructional technology.
- Build on departmental efforts to provide faculty with instructional technology tools.
- Address faculty priorities and concerns identified in the survey.
Wireless (Winter 2000 – Present)
The OIT is developing a white paper that will include policies regarding the deployment of wireless both for supporting point-to-point links as well as supporting mobile or desktop users.
A draft introduction to wireless networking issues is available online.
UCSB is a desirable location for commercial cellular transmitter sites. Over the past ten years, the number of requests for campus space for cell sites has quadrupled. The reason is straightforward: the campus has a considerable community that uses cellular telephone services and has tall buildings for cellular telephone sites.
To respond to campus interest in cellular telephone facilities at UCSB, The OIT's Department of Communications Services has drafted a White Paper on the subject, and held a Town Hall Meeting for faculty and staff with representatives from cellular service vendors.