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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.

Phase 1 (July 2018 – June 2019):

In this phase, the project team replaced UCT’s network core - which involved upgrading the primary and secondary core switches which route all data traffic on campus (both main routes and backup routes).

The team also began campus-wide wireless infrastructure upgrades, implemented internet security infrastructure upgrades, and upgraded the Upper and Middle Campus data centres.

Numerous other tasks were completed in this phase.

Phase 2 (July 2018 - December 2020)

The team continued the campus-wide wireless infrastructure upgrades, upgraded UCT's VPN service, and completed various other tasks - including security upgrades on various network infrastructure.

Phase 3 (September 2019 - present)

In this phase, the team continues to upgrade security infrastructure, while the campus-wide wireless infrastructure upgrades are ongoing.

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.

In addition, once residences have been upgraded, student rooms will no longer have access to wired network points. Students will need to connect wirelessly to eduroam.

The following sites have been completed in this phase:

  • Bremner
  • Carinus residence
  • Clarendon residence
  • Dullah Omar residence
  • ICTS on Main
  • Leo Marquard residence
  • Libraries: Jagger & Hlanganani
  • Masingene
  • Rondeberg residence
  • TB Davie residence
  • Tugwell residence
  • Rochester House residence
  • Obz Square residence
  • Centlivres
  • Chemical Engineering
  • RW James
  • Falmouth
  • Science Lab D
  • Sarah Baartman Hall
  • Environmental and Geographical Science
  • Burnage
  • Otto Beit
  • Leslie Social Sciences (Wireless survey only)
  • Beattie
  • Werner Beit North & Wolfson
  • Werner Beit South
  • Braemar
  • Computer Science
  • Kramer (Wireless survey only)
  • Maths
  • Sports Centre
  • John Day (Zoology)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Barnard Fuller
  • Menzies
  • Braemar Cottage
  • Baxter SLC
  • Old Main Building (J-block)
  • Snape (Teaching And Learning Building)*
  • New Lecture Theatre*
  • HW Pearson*
  • Ivan Toms*
  • Huriǂoaxa (Hoerikwaggo)*
  • School of Economics*
  • Meulenhof
  • AC Jordan*
  • Fitness Centre (Middle Campus)
  • Cambria House
  • Geology*
  • 5 Stanley Road
  • Isaac Albow
  • Ballet school
  • The Cottage
  • La Grotta
  • College of Music
  • Liesbeeck Gardens
  • Groote Schuur Hospital: L Block
  • Cadbol residence
  • Sports Science Institute
  • Kaplan Centre
  • Medical Library
  • 11 Woodbine Road residence
  • Forest Hill residence
  • Old Admin building
  • Exair residence
  • Harold Cressy residence
  • 15 Osbourne Road residence
  • Kopano residence
  • Baxter Theatre
  • RMH (Health Sciences)
  • 18 Rhodes Avenue residence
  • Avenue House
  • Chris Barnard Building

* Additional work (with minimal disruption) may be scheduled for a later date.

The current phase's planned work schedule is detailed below. Note that additional sites may be added, depending on approval.

Date Location of work Work to be done Services that may be interrupted
Monday 26th April - Friday 7th May 2021 Falmouth Network upgrades
(wireless only)

Wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Thursday 29th April - Friday 7th May 2021 Leslie Social Sciences Network upgrades

Wired and wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Monday 26th - Friday 30th April 2021 Allan Cormack House Network upgrades

Wired and wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Monday 3rd - Friday 14th May 2021 Hiddingh Campus Network upgrades

Wired and wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Postponed. New dates to be announced. Huriǂoaxa (Hoerikwaggo) Network upgrades
(wireless only)

Wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Postponed. New dates to be announced. Geology Network upgrades
(wireless only)

Wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Monday 10th - Friday 14th May 2021 School of Economics Network upgrades
(wireless only)

Wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. Please keep your valuables safely locked away.

Postponed. New dates to be announced. AC Jordan Network upgrades
(wireless only)

Wireless connectivity may be interrupted.

Please co-operate with technicians visiting offices and rooms. 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.