Recommendation 7: The University should accelerate planning for a converged telecommunications infrastructure. The University and campuses must ensure that there is appropriate funding for telecommunications services and infrastructure in the base. Specific attention must be given to improving the state of the inter-campus networks, planning for and deployment of adequate commodity Internet connectivity, a University-wide base level of campus telecommunications connectivity, advanced networking infrastructure and applications, wireless networks and support for multimedia and streaming media.
In 1999 the final piece of the University's Information Technology organization structure was put in place with the appointment of Brian D. Voss as Associate Vice President for Telecommunications. In this role, Voss will lead the Division of UITS that is responsible for the University's voice, data, and video networks and services, as well as electronic mail and messaging services. He will oversee IU's growing role in Internet2, initiatives to provide a robust optical fiber infrastructure within Indiana, and the establishment of the State GigaPoP in Indianapolis. With his background in service, Voss will emphasize that the new technological initiatives at IU relate directly to improved services for the University community, as well as for its partners in the arena of national and international telecommunications. He will lead the Division through the planning and implementation of the Information Strategic Plan Action Items discussed in this section, as well as others throughout this report.
Action 46. UITS should accelerate planning for a converged telecommunications infrastructure that aims to maximize the benefits to IU of this emerging technology direction. It should be accompanied by an aggressive program of testing and trialling of new "converged" technologies. Telecommunications services telephone systems, computer networks, and video conferencing are highly visible services that the IU community has come to expect to be wholly dependable and of very high quality. The existing distinct network infrastructures are well understood and are extremely reliable, and thus provide a solid foundation for the delivery of all IT services at IU. Hence, while convergence offers the potential of great benefits, in order to maximize those benefits and to minimize negative impact on services and optimize the University's investments the Division will need to proceed cautiously, though quickly, through planning, testing, and trialling of new technologies in this area.
A Task Force has been formed, with representatives from voice, video, and data telecommunications areas in UITS and is developing a University-wide telecommunications Convergence Plan. The Plan will be a blueprint for how the University might merge voice, video, and data onto one network. It will emphasize network reliability, resiliency, cost, and, above all, education through University-wide standards and expectations. The plan will consider several levels of convergence, and will lay out a cautious but focused series of steps for converging the networks. The plan is in the latter stages of development and completion is expected during the first quarter of 2000, with implementation to commence immediately thereafter.
A limited Voice over IP (VoIP) trial was completed in Summer 1999. While results were encouraging, technical and administrative hurdles remain, including the feasibility of VoIP as a large-scale application and the reliability of the data network for carrying voice traffic. UITS is working with leading vendors in the field to learn more about convergence technology, and to participate in a variety of equipment trials. IU's partnership in the Abilene Project will serve this purpose well, as trialling VoIP via the Abilene network will be explored in the second quarter of 2000.
Trialling and testing of video conferencing over IP, including desktop and small conference room technologies, are under way. A major trial of IP-based technology with the potential to replace the current Video Indiana Classroom (VIC) technology has begun and will be completed in the first half of 2000.
Action 47. The University as a whole and the campuses individually should establish base funding for the life-cycle replacement and ongoing development of telecommunications services and infrastructure.
Through extensive work by the OVPIT Finance Office and the Telecommunications Division during 1999, funding models are now in place to fully support life-cycle replacement and ongoing development of telecommunications services and infrastructure at IUB and IUPUI. Similar models are being developed for the regional campuses, leveraging the work done on the core campuses and in partnership with the regional campus CIOs and Campus Budget Officers. A first step on the regional campuses is the standardizing of the billing systems, enabling the recovery of life-cycle funds for voice and data networks. To this end, these campuses have been integrated into the IUB billing and service request system, and billing statements for the regional campuses have been standardized.
Action 48. A five-year plan for the University's intercampus networks and commodity Internet connectivity should be immediately developed, funded and implemented.
Design and budgetary planning is under way for the expansion of the statewide network linking all campuses. By July of 2000 connectivity levels up to 45 megabits/second (Mbps) or DS3 will be implemented, carrying backbone-converged voice, data, and video services. The latter will benefit the most from the dramatic increase in bandwidth, providing the network capacity required to implement new video technologies emerging in the market and being tested at IU. To improve performance for the IU community's access to the commodity Internet, connections were expanded at IUB (from 15 Mbps to 30 Mbps at the start of the Fall semester, and to 45 Mbps by the end of 1999) and at IUPUI (from 6 Mbps to 15 Mbps), improving performance of user connections and data transfers. Usage of these connections continues to grow, and UITS continues to monitor use so that subsequent increases can be made in a timely fashion to ensure peak performance. However, expansion is only a part of the endeavor. Policy was put into place and actions have been taken to minimize and eliminate superfluous use, ensuring that IU's resources are utilized to support the mission of the University and its constituents.
Action 49. A uniform base level of telecommunications connectivity and standards should be defined, communicated, and where necessary, implemented for all campuses.
As the key infrastructure component in IU's IT environment, telecommunications standards are required to ensure interoperability and high quality network services. Again, leveraging the solid relationship built between the core campus IT organization and regional campus CIOs, UITS is working to define University-wide telecommunications principles and standards. A draft of these standards is expected by the end of first quarter 2000 and they will quickly be reviewed and then implemented across the institution.
Action 50. The University should consider implementing a network architecture that separately supports production and advanced network applications. IU has now firmly established itself as a leader in advanced networking, through a variety of endeavors in which the University has taken a leadership role. These advanced networks effectively separate advanced research activities from those of the commodity production Internet, providing IU researchers with separate high-speed links to other researchers across the nation and around the world. Two networks in particular Abilene and TransPAC are now fully available to the IU community of scholars, and in fact, IU has the prestigious responsibility for managing these networks.
In February, the Abilene Network, with its IUPUI-based Network Operation Center (NOC), achieved nationwide connectivity, with links operating from New York to Seattle. Abilene was formally launched at a gala event in Washington, DC, with the capacity to transmit 2.4 gigabits/second (OC48). In October, the Abilene NOC and the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) Practice Laboratory at IUPUI were officially recognized by Governor Frank O'Bannon. News conference participants included IU President Myles Brand, UCAID President and CEO Doug Van Houweling, and Cisco Systems Chairman John Morgridge. At the most recent Abilene Executive Meeting, IU was lauded by all partners (UCAID, Cisco, Nortel, and Qwest) for the speed in which NOC services were established, and for the quality of support provided by IU technicians and engineers,which has contributed greatly to the success of the project.
Several positions were provided to IU as part of the Abilene project to support the design and operation of the new Abilene network. By the end of 1999, all key positions provided to IU by this project were filled, with the final position supporting expanded Web-based information dissemination functions for the network to be filled during the first quarter of 2000. These positions not only provided growth opportunities for long-time IU staff, but also enabled IU to recruit new technical expertise from outside the University.
In May, the Japan Science and Technology (JST) Corporation awarded IU a further $10M over five years to double the capacity of TransPAC, another network that is managed by UITS. JST awarded Japan's Kokusai Denshin Denwa (KDD) Co., Ltd., an additional $2M per year over five years to double the Japanese circuit. Currently, the connection's bandwidth is 73Mbps; negotiations are ongoing to expand capacity to 100Mbps, and possibly to OC3 in 2000.
As IU's participation in these networks grows, and as IU seeks to leverage its success to broaden its role in other existing and developing Internet2-style advanced networks, IU will require an increasingly larger conduit of bandwidth to connect the core campuses, and to link IU to the new Internet. As well, as IU seeks to enhance its position as a center for high performance computational research, it will need a high-capacity bridge to fuel further development of computational resources. To accomplish these goals, an optical fiber infrastructure and a high-capacity connection facility will be needed to provide the bridge between IU's researchers and resources and those at other institutions connected to the advanced networks.
In early 1999, OVPIT worked closely with the Higher Education Commission and the Governor's Office to secure an appropriation from the Indiana Legislature to fund a project to provide a high-volume fiber route that will connect Indiana University and Purdue University to Internet2. To provide the network infrastructure for advanced network-based research between the universities, connectivity to Abilene, and participation in I2, the universities propose minimally to establish:
During the last quarter of 1999, several parallel tasks were under way to advance the project.
The universities, under the leadership of the OVPIT, have worked through details of administration of the appropriation with Intelenet. A final agreement is expected early in the first quarter of 2000 that will pave the way for release of funding for the establishment of the OFI and the Indiana GigaPoP.
An RFP for the OFI was released and refined in the last half of 1999, and a finalist will be selected in early 2000. The OFI will be put in place, depending upon the vendor-partner selected, sometime in the period of mid-year 2000 to the first quarter of 2001. Equipment evaluations will commence in the first quarter of 2000, and will be completed in time to light the dark fiber when it is ready for use.
Action 51. Implementation should begin for a University-wide wireless network, initially through a trial with a School.
Wireless technology will become an increasingly important element in telecommunications at IU in 2000. Although IU has some of the best wired campuses in the nation, mobile, "de-wired" computing technology will play an increasing role in the lives of IU students and faculty in the next decade. Wireless networks will not replace the need for wiring plant infrastructure and the life-cycle modernization of that infrastructure as it ages and new technologies are available for use. However, wireless will play a role in augmenting the campus networks, removing the boundaries of buildings and wire-jacks from the IU technology-using community.
Given that wireless technology is rapidly developing, IU will need to take a cautious, though committed path to the deployment of wireless networks and services. Initially, the plan will be to implement limited rollout pilots on the two core campuses by the end of Spring semester 2000 in student/faculty gathering areas, or in buildings that present difficult hard-wiring challenges. Supported applications will initially be limited to Web browsing and e-mail though these comprise the largest share of use of data networking applications. UITS will also work with a limited number of departments or faculty members interested in using wireless technology as part of specific technology programs under grants.
Successful deployment will require robust support services advising on user-held technology (wireless access cards in PCs), standardization of laptop configurations, and user training and a fully secure environment. The Telecommunications and TLIT Divisions and the IT Security Office are working closely together from the outset, to ensure that the technology deployed in the pilots is functional, supportable, and secure. Wider deployment plans will be developed through the 2000-2001 academic year.
Action 52. The networking demands due to the increasing use of multimedia applications should be addressed as the University network continues to develop.
As detailed in Action 48, plans are in place to enhance intercampus data/voice/video transmission by July 2000. The expansion of the statewide IUNet to DS3-level service will provide the necessary bandwidth to facilitate the deployment of multimedia/video applications across the Institution.
Action 53. The University should begin the production deployment of streaming media services such as videoconferencing and video and audio stores. It should ensure that support is provided for quality of service on the University networks to ensure that emerging instructional and research applications relying on interactive or streaming media (including digital libraries and distributed education) can have consistent and acceptable performance.
A video streaming advisory group was established in 1999, and several tests and trials were successfully accomplished through the end of the year. Approximately a dozen University events including panel discussions, music, athletic events, and media events have been Internet-streamed in partnership with broadcast.com. Infrastructure was established on the Bloomington campus, including encoders and servers, and a pilot project was established for support of streaming services on the University Web pages.
IP-based H.323-standard videoconferencing was deployed successfully in test-bed desktop and room-system applications in the third quarter of 1999. Room systems at the IU Connersville and Newcastle extension centers utilizing the H.323 technology are being readied for Spring 2000 classes. Very high quality MPEG2/IP video conferencing systems were tested and are being deployed to interconnect the Bloomington and Indianapolis video services hubs.
VI. Information Systems  |  Table of Contents  |  VIII. Support for Student Computing
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