Wired & Wireless Network Upgrades
The network provides data, telephone and television service to 63 buildings, and is both hard wired and wireless. The wired network is comprised of approximately 300 network switches and 60,000+ data jacks, providing connectivity for thousands of user devices. The wireless network has more than 5,000 access points with as many as 24,000 mobile device connections at the same time.
- June 2 – Stephens Hall: complete
- June 8 – Hawkins Hall: complete
- June 15 – Towson Center
- June 22 – Lecture Hall, Softball Field and Towson Run Apartments
- June 29 – Administration Building *new
- July 20 – Enrollment Services
Check back here for the next upgrade schedule, including buildings and services affected.
Why are upgrades performed?
Network equipment typically lasts less than six years, so on average, the Office of Technology Services (OTS) replaces the equipment in 10 buildings each year. Keeping equipment current helps simplify IT operations and management and improves infrastructure security so building occupants can access resources and get their work done.
Additionally, replacing cables fixes the entanglements and mismatches that occur over the years between upgrades and makes cable/port identification much smoother, improving troubleshooting and problem resolution time. It also provides an accurate count on spare ports available in the switch to plan for growth estimates.
What happens during an upgrade
First, extensive pre-planning takes place and logistics are coordinated in advance as part of each upgrade. Online hosts and devices are identified (pre-upgrade script) so they can be upgraded and later returned to the network when work is done (post upgrade script).
On the day of the upgrade, outdated equipment and cabling are removed, replaced and connected to make sure the building’s network can support technology and connectivity needs. Here's what happens:
- Equipment delivery: the networking team loads and transports the large new equipment to the building/location.
- Cable and system removal: At the location, hundreds of patch cables get unplugged and removed, and the system equipment (switch) is removed.
- Cable and system replacement: The new switch and cables are installed, connected and mapped.
- Reconnection: The distribution switch is completed and connected quickly to make sure the building can be reconnected to the data center and Internet.
- Clean up: Old cables and trash are cleaned out.
- Adding users: The post upgrade script is run so hosts and devices can gradually be connected throughout the scheduled day.
What to expect
This important work is usually planned for the summer and in January. Once dates are confirmed, OTS communicates the planned upgrade schedule to the campus through TU Today, with a reminder email sent directly to building coordinators as their building's date approaches.
Each upgrade is coordinated to minimize the amount of time that services will be unavailable. Examples of services affected are:
- Network Services: this includes - but is not limited to - email, calendaring, file shares, network printing and Internet
- Wired and Wireless Networks
- Desktop VoIP Telephone Services
In advance: plan accordingly by making alternate arrangements for the day your building is scheduled to be upgraded.
On the day of the upgrade: you can expect services to go offline in the morning and be restored throughout the day. At the end of the day, all services will be restored.
You will be sent an email reminder several days in advance with details. This info should be shared with all building occupants. Here's an example:
We upgrade a portion of the data network every year to ensure all buildings are upgraded every 6 years. Buildings are upgraded one at a time. However, during the upgrade, wired and wireless data and telephone service (other than POTS lines) will be unavailable.
You are getting this info ahead of the general announcement since you are either a building coordinator, IT Support person, or have critical equipment that relies upon the data and/or telephone network.
Here is the Summer upgrade schedule:
6/2 Stephens Hall
6/8 Hawkins Hall
6/15 Towson Center
6/22 Lecture Hall
6/2 Towson Run Apartments
7/6 Millennium Hall and Softball Field
7/2 Enrollment Services
On the morning of each upgrade, the building's wired and wireless network and telephone system (except POTS lines) will go down at 8 AM. We will remove the old hardware, install the new hardware, then connect the building cabling to the new hardware. As we connect the building cabling to the new hardware, devices will come back online. All devices will be back online by close of business the same day.
There will be no need to reconfigure any of your devices due to this work. When the network comes back online, your devices should, too. Although we don't anticipate a large number of issues, we will have staff dedicated to resolving any issues that come up the day after each upgrade.
If you are a building coordinator, please let me know that you have received this message and please forward it to the departments within your building. We want to make sure everyone is aware, so your assistance in getting the word out is important.