Pandemic Accelerates UMD's Enhanced Fiber Network

Sep 16, 2021

Every cloud has a silver lining if you're ready to act upon it.

ITSS took advantage of the pandemic by installing over 10,000 feet of fiber optic cable to construct our next generation fiber ring.

2 Months of Work Completed in 2 Weeks

Having only essential workers on campus meant we could utilize hallways to roll out massive lengths of cable prior to pulling into the tunnels and raceway systems. The project had an original installation estimate of over 2 months, but due to logistics during the pandemic, installers were able to complete the task in less than 2 weeks.

Redundant Connectivity Provides Uninterrupted Service

The result of 14 months of planning, the new fiber network circles the campus and allows for every building to have redundant connectivity to our network routers. Each building's headed network device rides two different directions around the ring to reach a core router. A fiber cut or damaged anywhere on the ring will not impact services.

Enhanced Fiber Means Reduced Maintenance and Signal Loss

The enhanced fiber network, as the name suggests, is architecturally different from our previous network in that it was designed to reduce maintenance and signal losses related to patch cables. To connect the average building on campus requires 8 patch cords and the inspection and cleaning of 64 connectors. There are nearly 2300 connectors that need inspecting and cleaning on the current network.

Future Capacity Built-in

In order to support services well into the future, the new fiber network has twice the amount of strands of our current network and utilizes fusion splicing to connect strands around the ring. In stark contrast, even though double the size, the new ring only has 768 maintenance points. The new ring also has state-of-the-art angled-polished-connectors throughout and allows for 100-Gbps and beyond network capacity.

No Outages During Migration

ITSS network staff are currently working to migrate buildings to the new fiber ring. Due to our always-vigilant focus on redundancy, no service outages are expected during any of the building transitions.