Ideas for Network Design: Remove the Research Data Bottleneck on the Higher Ed Campus

Higher-Education Networks have reached a tipping point where traditional enterprise network design with Gigabit uplinks are struggling to keep up with students and researchers’ relentless demand for seamless mobility, access to the latest generation applications and research staff’s needs for more bandwidth. In addition, Higher-Ed IT departments are increasingly challenged by the exponential increase in the volume of research data and the proliferation of areas on the campus where the data is generated, lives and needs to be shared.  Challenges include:

  • University researchers need to move very large datasets across the network: In the areas of medical research, genomics and climatology to name a few, datasets are becoming excessively large. For instance, genome sampling generates datasets that can represent multiple hundreds of gigabytes per genome. Medical imaging also produces gigabyte size files as well that need to be transferred to storage. The equipment that produces these large datasets is proliferating in labs across the campus that are connected to the edge of the network. This creates the need for high performance and high capacity switches to be deployed at the network access layer and little to no oversubscription between the network access, aggregation and core layers.
  • Video is taxing the network: Video streaming, video conferencing and video surveillance across the campus consume a massive amount of bandwidth and can be choking the network. IT continues to fight the good fight on a daily basis to maintain network SLAs when these bandwidth hogs are deployed across the existing network
  • Mobility is now ubiquitous: Legacy campus networks are struggling to keep up with the large amount of traffic generated by an ever increasing number of Mobile devices used by students and staff connected to the latest generation 802.11ac Wave 1 and the new 802.11ac Wave 2 WI-FI access points.
  • Latency sensitive applications suffer: When large amount of data are moved across oversubscribed networks, packets are being dropped or re-transmitted. This induces latency and sensitive applications such as access to VDI desktops, real-time web conferencing and voice/video communications are impacted. When the network is not up to task, this results in a poor user experience and dissatisfied students and staff. Oversubscribed networks can’t keep up with today’s Higher-Ed applications. IT needs to reduce over-subscription across network layers to meet the latest Higher-Ed network usage requirements, and support mobility while delivering an optimal user experience. 1GbE uplinks between network layers are things of the past, 10GbE uplinks deliver some relief but fast-forwarding to 40GbE offers numerous benefits to future proofing Higher-Education networks.


Idea for Network Design:  Now Higher-Ed institutions can get 40X the speed from the fiber cable infrastructure already in place. Until recently, upgrading a campus network to 40GbE required upgrading the existing fiber infrastructure and laying down new fiber cable between access, aggregation and core but this is no longer the case thanks to the latest technology evolution in Optics.

Brocade offers new 40 GbE “Bi-Directional” (BiDi) optics that leverages current infrastructure providing 40G connectivity on a single pair of fiber. This enables you to transition to 40GbE without upgrading the existing fiber layout in the building. Since laying down new fiber cable is always the most costly part of a network upgrade, this dramatically reduces the risk of upgrading the campus aggregation and core to 40GbE. In addition, by utilizing the same pair of fiber optics currently used for 1GbE uplinks today, you can realize a huge cost savings with the new 40GbE BiDi optics while delivering 40X the speed.

40GbE technology has matured and the price of implementation costs have come down. With Brocade 40GbE campus solutions, Higher-Ed institutions can take the idea of network design with 40GbE from idea to practicality.. Brocade offers purpose built ICX7450 switch bundles that include all the modules and options needed to easily deploy 40G links between access and the aggregation/core.

Furthermore, Brocade offers a unique solution for Higher-Ed institutions who want to move to a high performance non-blocking 40GbE aggregation/core. The ICX 7750-26Q 40 Gigabit Ethernet non-blocking stackable switch offers a unique “distributed chassis” architecture providing the capabilities and performance of a chassis with the flexibility and cost effectiveness of a stackable switch.

With 40GbE deployed on your Higher Education Campus network design you can help remove the research data bottleneck and speed the time to innovation.


Want to learn more about network design? Download our free white paper, “Transform Your Network with Brocade Campus Fabric“.

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