Feb 24, 2020

Tech upgrade to improve campus network

Fresno State underwent a massive network upgrade during winter break as part of a California State Universitywide data network electronics upgrade called the Common Network Initiative.

As part of a project funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Fresno State also implemented a separate network upgrade through Technology Services for enhanced network capabilities. The plan, which started spring 2014, is scheduled for completion in 2016.

“This upgrade is a major project required to ensure the campus data network can continue to provide fast, secure and reliable service for Fresno State students,” said executive director of Technology Services Jim Michael. An upgrade of this scale, which Michael said took extensive planning, will occur approximately once every five years in order to keep the campus network updated.

“The Common Network Initiative, which began in August, involved over 7,000 network connections and over 200 network switches on the Fresno State campus,” Michael said. Several network outages were planned throughout the break aimed to minimize disruption to student and faculty use.

Michael said much of the maintenance work was done after hours, on weekends and holidays, and that the department coordinated its planned outages with other campus departments, the Chancellor’s Office and AT&T. Many campus technology services, including email, Blackboard and the campus portal were unexpectedly disrupted and left many students without access for several hours on Sunday. Technology Services worked throughout the day to restore service, which was up and running again Monday morning.

“While there have been some temporary unplanned interruptions in certain services as a result of these network upgrade activities, these have been relatively minor, and staff has been able to restore service quickly,” Michael said.

Two additional maintenance activities are planned to complete the CNI upgrade: Saturday, Jan. 24 and an additional maintenance period tentatively scheduled for late February. Technology Services again will be working with faculty and staff to minimize student disruption, Michael said.

“Overall, the network upgrade has been highly successful, and I very much appreciate the long hours of hard work from our staff and partners that have made this possible,” Michael said.

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