Next Generation Network (NGN): Right-Sizing

Illustration: Next Generation Network
January 31, 2017

A project is underway to size our new network appropriately.

As the University of Minnesota and ITSS prepare for our overall network upgrade (NGN), we continue to operate the network as efficiently and effectively as possible. Student and staff usage of network devices has changed over the last few years to a network that requires more wireless and less hard-wired connections. In order to deploy an appropriate number of ports in the NGN, ITSS was asked to identify those ports which have been inactive for an extended period of time and may not be utilized in the future. This will allow the network upgrade project to size the new network appropriately.


ITSS has performed a network port and switch review project that identified those ports which have been unused for greater than 12 months. All campuses will follow that model. Port harvesting is necessary in all 61 buildings served by ITSS. Right-sizing and port harvesting will be a continual process in the years to come. The objectives are to avoid paying for hardware and maintenance on equipment we don't need, and to make planning for the next NGN project easier.


During port harvesting, there should be no service interruptions as only inactive ports are being disconnected. We have completed a number of buildings already without issue. If work besides port harvesting is needed in select network equipment rooms, ITSS will announce that work separately.

Right-Sizing Schedule

We have 270 network rooms to complete right-sizing in. As of today, 21 are complete. The following buildings have been right-sized:

  • Solon Campus Center
  • Engineering
  • Voss Kovach Hall
  • Life Science
  • Montague Hall

The top 12 buildings scheduled for right-sizing based on the total number of identified unused ports are:

  • Darland Administration Building
  • Marshall W. Alworth Hall
  • Humanities
  • Kirby Plaza
  • School of Medicine
  • Sports and Health
  • Chemistry
  • Kirby Student Center
  • Swenson Science Building
  • Cina Hall
  • Bohannon Hall
  • Chester Park

Work is ongoing and will continue throughout 2017.