MONTREAL, Quebec - April 30, 2003 - In a move to provide improved communications and web services to its growing "wired" student population, Concordia University is rebuilding its network infrastructure with Cisco technology.
"This ambitious project is directly tied to innovation at Concordia and our vision of the future. We are proud to be one step ahead," said Concordia University Executive Director of Instructional and Information Technology Services, Andrew McAusland.
The university is deploying a sophisticated Cisco Internet Protocol (IP) Communications System to deliver voice, video and data over a single integrated network. Developed under the directive of Michael Di Grappa, vice-rector of services at Concordia University, the project will provide a foundation for powerful new services, including IP telephony and IP video conferencing. The university is also using Cisco Aironet wireless technology to enable its 30,000 students to stay connected. Laptops will be provided for use on campus and students will have the option of registering and paying their tuition on the web, as well as attending virtual courses.
McAusland views wireless and IP-based communications as the wave of the future as it helps control costs while enabling the delivery of a host of powerful applications and services. "The ability to access the university network and take advantage of the Internet - no matter where you are and without the restrictions of a wired connection - is incredibly powerful. Perhaps the most important payoff, however, comes from network applications that enable institutions like us to become more productive, serve growing demand and make our IT investments go further. Ultimately, our new integrated network provides the foundation we need for rolling out these exciting services."
Pierre-Paul Allard, president of Cisco Systems Canada, echoed McAusland's view. "Concordia is taking advantage of the full range of next generation networking technology to reduce costs and provide better service in order to improve the educational experience. We're delighted to be working with Concordia University to provide technology that not only empowers students but also provides a great return on investment (ROI) for the university."
Wireless connectivity for students on the move
McAusland knows the importance of keeping up with a new generation of computer-savvy students, who have very high expectations of connectivity and online service delivery. This is why laptops will be available for two-hour loans for students to use anywhere on campus.
After a thorough review process, Concordia chose Cisco's next-generation wireless technology to allow for the development of new and better ways to teach, learn and research. The university began deploying the wireless network last summer and expects to have it completed by end of June. The network currently features the Cisco Aironet 350 Series supporting up to 11 megabits per second and will in the future support data rates of up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps) as the network is migrated to the Cisco Aironet 1100 and 1200 Series.
Convergence delivers savings to finance network upgrade
Concordia is using its IP-based communications systems to integrate voice, video and data traffic onto the same network, reducing operational costs and delivering new services such as e-learning, online collaboration and virtual classrooms that will change the way students learn. A total of 3,400 Cisco IP phones will be installed throughout the campus.
"One of the strongest motivational factors for implementing IP telephony was its strong ROI," said McAusland. The savings incurred from implementing IP telephony are financing the rest of the network upgrade, including the core network infrastructure, IP video and video conferencing and wireless communication.
Applications for security and videoconferencing
Once the IP telephony system is up and running, the university will have the option of adding dynamic new applications. One of the first converged applications will be sophisticated telephone emergency services for students and staff. "Safety and security are always a concern when you're dealing with a large number of students. With the Cisco IP phones, we can easily and effectively inform our campus population when an emergency situation strikes. We can even localize the emergency caller on campus," said McAusland.
IP video and IP video conferencing technologies are currently being used on campus, with the schools of Business and Science both using video conferencing capabilities to enhance their teaching environment. The university will rely heavily on video conferencing for instructor-led classes, enabling professors to record lectures and video-stream them on course Web sites.
The university's end-to-end Cisco network is based on the Cisco AVVID (Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data) solution. It features Cisco Catalyst 6500® Series at the network core with redundant Gigabit (Gb) connections to every wiring closet on campus. The distribution layer uses the Cisco Catalyst 3550 Series Switch, with the access layer consisting of Cisco Catalyst 3524 Series PWR and 2950 Series Switches. Other Cisco products in the network include: the Cisco CSS 11503 Content Services Switch with SSL accelerator module to power the university's portal; the Cisco Secure ACS for authentication; CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution as management platform; and Cisco Dual PIX 525 Firewall and Host IDS on each telephony server.
About Concordia University
Founded in 1974, Concordia University serves approximately 30,000 students across its two Montreal, Quebec campuses. With over 180 undergraduate programs in Arts and Science, Engineering and Computer Science, Fine Arts and the John Molson School of Business, and over 80 graduate programs, Concordia is known for its commitment to the needs of its diverse student population as well as to the bilingual and multicultural environment in which it resides. With an inter-disciplinary approach to learning, Concordia is dedicated to offering the best possible scholarship, research and training for the real world. For more information, visit http://www.concordia.ca
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About Cisco Systems Canada
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