Though there isn’t much documentation regarding the upkeep and progress of Oregon State University’s network, there is a plan posted on OSU’s Information Services Project Management site. The report “Research Network” headed by Tony Brock details the university’s plan to allocate recently acquired money towards the university network. Read the full document here.

In 2013, Information Services, in conjunction with CGRB and the College of Engineering, received an award from the National Science Foundation to “build a Science DMZ.” This presumably is referring a fast, reliable network that promotes scientific research, simulation, and collaboration. The document lists four main goals of project were designing a network to support “high-performance applications”, having integrated systems to transfer data, having an easy way to test and troubleshoot network quality and coverage, along with pushing prudent, appropriate security policies to keep users safe and secure. Along with these broad goals, more specific attainable figures are posted such a 40 gigabyte per second (Gbps) speed, and a roading to expand to a 100 Gbps connection.

While the network speeds may reach (and even exceed) 40 Gbps in some areas and implementations, that’s certainly not a consistent standard that’s help up to all devices and all environments. It is important to note that while this number is referenced many times throughout the report, it is never listed whether this 40Gbps corresponds to a wired or wireless connection, or whether this speed is aimed to be available on all OSU networks, or just the “primary” one (OSU_Secure).

While the proposal does primarily focus on the research aspect of the network, it is interesting to note that there is no mention of wireless anywhere in this proposal. It may cause one to wonder about the priority the university assigns to having a solid wireless coverage and appropriate speeds.

In my opinion, the lack of focus on this aspect, leads on an unbalanced network and, though it may work great in a set of wired machines in a specific building, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the network as a whole is healthy. It seems to be a particularly significant lack of foresight, since just as much work happens in the field and in remote labs, as does in the central areas of campus. An ideal network would fully support both the wired and wireless aspects, in order to make internet-based tools easier and more effective for all Oregon State affiliates.

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