Next Generation Network Project

Aug 29, 2016

The University of Minnesota is developing plans to upgrade the data networks on all campuses.

ITSS staff have been involved with needs analysis, Request For Proposals (RFP) development and scoring, and vendor presentations to date.

As outlined in our May newsletter article, the project is expected to cost ~ $80 million and span several years. UMD's upgrades are estimated at $3 to $6 million depending on RFP outcomes and scope decisions.

The RFP process included a master RFP with 7 sub-RFPs in the areas of:

  1. Security
  2. Firewalls
  3. Data Centers
  4. Core
  5. Distribution / Edge
  6. Wireless
  7. Hospitality

Vendor selections are expected in the near future and phased implementations are expected to start in 2017.

A Formal Community of Practice (FCoP) kicked-off on August 18th with more than 70 in attendance. Four affinity groups were created.

Network Right-Sizing and the Common Good Model: Identify the best methods to manage right-sizing, discuss and propose modifications to the current processes supporting the common good model.

Firewall and Network Management: Identify needs for shared responsibility for managing firewalls and networks. Propose changes to existing tools and processes.

Change Management: Minimize the impact of the upgrade to the services and users. Identify exceptions, encourage early adoptions, ensure the success of the project from the perspective of the end users.

WiFi Service and Coverage: Focus on WiFi service and coverage priorities.

While this is an IT project that may seem interesting to only IT professionals on the surface, it will impact every person at the University because of the importance of the network to daily work. It is critical that non IT colleagues also participate in this group to understand planning and provide feedback. To join the FCoP and receive invitations to future meetings, send email to [email protected].