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The UCT Network Renewal project

The UCT network connects various university sites to each other and provides storage, internet access, and other services – such as WiFi – to staff and students on all campuses. The current network infrastructure – which was implemented more than 10 years ago – has served us well, and continues to do so, but is reaching its end of life.

As a result, ICTS has embarked on a network renewal project. The project will enable us to not only maintain the current level of network quality, but also improve network performance and security, and equip the university for network-related applications and services that will become more prominent in the future.

Benefits for UCT

The new network will bring many benefits to the university, including:

  • Enhanced security: With major data breaches becoming more common, security is no longer an afterthought. World-class threat detection and security mechanisms will be built into all layers of the new network, helping to safeguard UCT data, devices, and systems.
  • Better performance: Technology is crucial to many facets of life at UCT – including core functions such as research and teaching and learning. The new network will cater to both current and future needs – including faster network links  and increased capacity to handle the ever-growing demand brought about by the rise in network-reliant devices.
  • Improved efficiency: Standardisation and automation will boost efficiency, while the new network will also lay the foundation for future smart technologies.

Timelines and project phases

Network renewal is a vast and complicated undertaking. The project began in the Winter 2018 vacation, and the work has been split up into various phases. The entire project is expected to be completed by early 2020.

  1. Phase 1 (July – August 2018): In this phase, the project team replaced UCT’s network core. This involved upgrading the primary and secondary core switches – which route all data traffic on campus (both main routes and backup routes). Work proceeded during the Winter vac, as well as over weekends during term time.
  2. Phase 2 (September 2018 – June 2019): In this phase, the team will begin upgrading wireless infrastructure across all campuses. This involves the installation of new equipment and software, as well as wireless surveys being conducted in UCT buildings. A schedule of surveys is provided below. Internet security infrastructure upgrades will also occur, along with upgrades to the Upper and Middle Campus data centres.
  3. Phase 3 and beyond: We will add further information on later stages as work proceeds.

Impact on staff and students

Some of the work requires interruptions to network services – such as printing, eduroam, and internet connectivity. However, to minimise the impact on the UCT community, we will strive to carry out most major work on weekends and outside of term time where possible. We will inform the UCT community prior to such work.

If you'll need these services during the work periods, please plan ahead so that you can minimise inconvenience. For example, if you rely solely on eduroam or wired internet access in or around UCT buildings, please arrange your alternate connectivity – such as mobile data.

The current phase's planned work schedule is detailed below:

Date Location of work Work to be done Services that may be interrupted

Monday 3rd – Wednesday 12th September 2018

Carinus residence Wireless survey

No service interruptions are expected.

However, please co-operate with technicians visiting residence rooms, and please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Thursday 13th – Friday 21st September 2018

Clarendon residence Wireless survey

No service interruptions are expected.

However, please co-operate with technicians visiting residence rooms, and please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Friday 14th September 2018

Rochester House residence Wireless survey

No service interruptions are expected.

However, please co-operate with technicians visiting residence rooms, and please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Monday 1st – Friday 5th October 2018 TB Davie residence Wireless survey

No service interruptions are expected.

However, please co-operate with technicians visiting residence rooms, and please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Monday 1st – Wednesday 26th October 2018 Forest Hill residence Wireless survey

No service interruptions are expected.

However, please co-operate with technicians visiting residence rooms, and please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Monday 1st – Wednesday 26th October 2018 Rondeberg residence Wireless survey

No service interruptions are expected.

However, please co-operate with technicians visiting residence rooms, and please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Later work will be added to this schedule in due course.

How to stay updated

Throughout the project, this web article will be your most comprehensive source for project-related information – including the latest progress updates and schedules for any disruptions that may occur.

Prior to any planned disruptions to service, we will send email reminders  to the UCT community. You can also get the announcements by following us on our social media channels (Facebook | Twitter).

If you have any queries about the project, please contact ICTS Communications.