SINGAPORE -- 2 August 2000 -- Students and staff at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are being immersed in a virtual learning environment, where lectures are routinely broadcast live across the University network. Computer telephony from anywhere on campus is about to become a reality.
The seamless integration of teaching, learning, research and administration across the high-bandwidth network has dramatically enhanced learning productivity and places NUS firmly at the forefront of the e-learning revolution.
To further strengthen this computing and communications infrastructure, NUS, Cisco Systems and SingTel Aeradio today signed a memorandum of understanding which will provide for an upgrade of the University's network, making it even faster and more reliable. The project, NUSNET-IV, will:
- Ensure gigabit networking performance;
- Implement Internet Protocol telephony solutions (VoIP); and
- Introduce a policy-based network management system.
"Today one of the major challenges at NUS is to provide the environment and the means for knowledge to grow. By ensuring the correct IT environment is in place, we have a unique opportunity to make the NUS educational experience an enriching one that cultivates the multiple talents of our students," said Professor Lee Soo Ying, NUS Director of Institutional Resources and Special Duties.
"Our long-term objective is to provide NUS with the best computing and communications infrastructure," said Professor Lawrence Wong, Director of the NUS Computer Centre. "We are continuously upgrading our IT resources and strengthening our IT infrastructure to enhance our students' learning experience and facilitate the development of borderless communities. We are making the network a dependable utility, much like power and phone services, and we are looking at the long-term improvement of voice communications through the widespread use of VoIP."
"At Cisco Systems we're committed to developing education right throughout the community. NUS is a perfect example of New World e-learning in action and we're proud to be associated with the NUSNET-IV project," said Bill Chang, Cisco Systems Managing Director for Singapore. "The project will bring tremendous benefits and, especially by implementing a VoIP solution, NUS has taken a significant step towards the network of the future."
"After having implemented the campus-wide wireless LAN for NUS previously, SingTel Aeradio is proud to be chosen by NUS again to build the world's best intelligent campus. This is testimony to NUS's faith in us", said Mrs Tan Kah Rhu, CEO of SingTel Aeradio. "Together with NUS and Cisco Systems, we are providing infrastructure and services to produce a whole generation of IT-savvy young Singaporeans who are expected to lead the country in future. This will also contribute to Singapore's vision to be a leading IT hub in the region."
The NUS network provides for a huge variety of learning enhancements, from one-stop access to IT-based teaching and learning resources, to online application for hall admission and online student career and employment services. Almost half of all courses offered are now available online with sophisticated multimedia online courseware and archives of broadcast lectures and seminars. Staff and students can gain access to the campus network services any time, any where, by plugging their personal notebook computer into any SPnP (Secure Plug-and-Play) outlet in study rooms, lecture theatres, open lobby areas, corridors, libraries, canteens or Halls of Residence rooms. The NUS network also offers the most Internet bandwidth (23 Mbps international, 4 Mbps local, 14 Mbps SingAREN, and 155 Mbps S-One) of any network among institutions of higher learning in Singapore. The network upgrade will ensure a dedicated 100 Mbps access to network resources for staff and students, representing a ten fold increase from the present system.
The addition of VoIP to the network will soon allow students roaming with notebooks or Internet phones to make calls from the same access points, or through wireless LAN connectivity. The introduction of VoIP in NUSNET-IV will be done on a trial basis, to gauge the feasibility of utilising a single integrated network for data, voice and video.
In phase one of the VoIP trial, SingTel Aeradio will implement a Cisco VoIP trial for the University over the upgraded network. This is believed to be the largest VoIP trial in the world. Utilising special desktop IP phones and personal computers, the trialists will be able to make phone calls over the Intranet to each other. In phase two of the trial in October 2000, 6000 software phones will be installed in Halls of Residence. Eventually this will lead to a campus-wide deployment that will significantly improve overall voice communication services.
To ensure service-quality across the network, the NUSNET-IV upgrade will guarantee all users 99.99 per cent network uptime and higher bandwidth for data and multimedia traffic. The policy-based network management system will also provide the NUS Computer Centre with a flexible configuration of network policies for service differentiation, security and accountability for different categories of users.
The NUSNET-IV campus network upgrade preserves its existing three-tiered campus network design, while improving its performance, scalability and robustness. A full-mesh of four Gigabit Ethernet multi-layer switches forms the core network backbone at the first tier, providing an aggregated bandwidth of 24 Gigabits per second (Gbps). Another 15 Gigabit Ethernet multi-layer switches form the second, or distribution tier, with each switch connecting to two different core switches for resiliency and load-sharing. The distribution switches fan out to 646 Edge switches to give a total of 28,612 network points. The Edge switches provide all users with 10/100 Megabits per second (Mbps) ports with a Gigabit Ethernet uplink connection. For resiliency purposes, a second Gigabit Ethernet uplink to a different distribution switch is provided for the administrative offices, the dean's offices, the library terminals, and the Computer Centre building.
About The National University of Singapore
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore's premier tertiary institution. Forward-looking, innovative and research-intensive, it has assiduously built up a tradition of excellence and is firmly committed to supporting Singapore's development as a knowledge-based economy.It is a comprehensive university that offers courses in all major disciplines, ranging from the sciences, engineering and technology to law, humanities, medicine, dentistry, computing, business and social sciences. The NUS degree is internationally recognised. It is regarded by both industry and international academia as a testament to an educational system which equips its students with the knowledge and cognitive skills to master new technologies and the demands of the 21st century. NUS news and information are available at www.nus.edu.sg.
About SingTel Aeradio
SingTel Aeradio is a member of the SingTel Group. The principal activity of the company is to provide info-communication systems integration services and facilities management to the aviation industry and the commercial market, as well as telecommunication service providers.
About Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco news and information are available at www.cisco.com.
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