Case study – Queen Mary, University of London
The business problem
Several years ago, Queen Mary, University of London deployed a managed fibre network consisting of three legs between four of its campus sites within London.With only two legs of the three connecting the core college sites, a third leg was required to complete the triangulation of the network to provide much needed diversity to ensure the university’s disaster recovery and business continuity needs were met. The existing managed service solution lacked resilience and the university was faced with insufficient service due to low bandwidth.With data intensive applications such as IPTV and unified communications
increasingly in use, Queen Mary sought to future-proof its network to ensure the university was ready to take up these new applications. Network (WAN) demand had matured from 100Mb/s in its early days to 1Gb/s and now 10Gb/s today.
The option to deploy a 10Gb/s managed service connection was considered but was an expensive option; and would fail to meet the university’s requirement for end-to-end network transparency. “There is intense competition between leading universities to attract top academics and students. Queen Mary prides itself as having some of the country’s pioneering research centres and technology plays a key part in this. As data-heavy applications put pressure on the network, we need to be able to both control bandwidth supply and availability. However, incurring steep costs for inevitable bandwidth upgrades is just not good use of funding,” said Tavinder Jandu, Network Manager at Queen Mary.
With four disparate sites, the university’s network management team was also seeking to extend LAN technologies over the universities WAN, but faced restrictions with its managed service: “As the university grows and innovative technologies form the heart of our research and academic faculties, there’s a clear need for increased bandwidth and LAN expansion. We also needed more network control and transparency which its service wasn’t providing – we needed to run a network without layer-2 hindrance caused by managed service delays,” said Jandu.
With the requisite funding in place, Queen Mary put out an EU tender to procure the third leg. Geo’s proposal was considered alongside the incumbent provider’s. Endorsed by a recommendation, Geo’s dedicated dark fibre solution was selected by the university following the thorough tender process. With dark fibre providing the total network control and transparency the university sought, the location of Geo’s fibre deep within London’s sewer network held additional appeal: “Of course having diverse suppliers is always attractive for strategic reasons, but the fact that Geo’s fibre route could deliver network diversity and resilience without compromising the existing network route was a strong point. And knowing that the network runs deep underground in the sewer network added another dimension – peace of mind that 95% of the route is in the sewers eliminates the risk of accidental damage by road works in central London. For a university, whilst it’s hard to estimate in revenue, the impact of damage to our network would be drastic – the loss of a whole day’s work in vital research for example, would be devastating. People today expect a 99.999% level of SLA as the norm and Geo has demonstrated this to us,“ said Jandu.
Business continuity and disaster recovery
Final leg connecting four campuses ensures complete route diversity.
Network transparency and bandwidth control
With dark fibre in place, the university’s own network team is able to determine the bandwidth available to the multi-site network. When additional capacity is required, equipment can be added to the route by the team and bandwidth is increased without waiting for a network supplier’s lead times and working to their schedule.
Lower cost implications
“By future-proofing, we can effectively turn our bandwidth usage up or down as with a heating thermostat, without paying a service provider each time additional bandwidth is required,” confirms Jandu.
Network resilience and diversity
Diverse leg provides route triangulation to overall fibre network and resilience for the university’s core network linking all 4 campus sites.