Statement of Work

Project - Data and Video Communications Infrastructure Services: ATN-Networking & Communications

1.0 Description and Scope

ATN Networking and Communications (ATN-N&C) is the group in ITS that is responsible for data and video communications infrastructure services at UNC-CH. One of several on-going projects is the management and evolution of data communications services. The goal for this service is to manage the entire process of data networking across campus from the wall plate to the Internet.

1.1 Summary of Work Requested

The data networking staff of ATN-N&C is responsible for the development, deployment, management and maintenance of data communications on the UNC-CH campus data backbone and data communications within all buildings of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These services are of an evolving nature given the historical leading edge nature of the data network users at UNC-CH  Similarly, the video networking group within ATN-N&C is responsible for the development, management and evolution of a video networking infrastructure that can support services ranging from high quality production video to H.323 video conferencing to multicast video services over the data network.

1.2 Background

Prior to the first availability in 1995 of a fiber optic backbone network at UNC-CH, the backbone of the University consisted of a 5 Mb/sec broadband coax data network in about 60 buildings on the UNC-CH campus and a few off-campus sites at even lesser speeds. Planning for the improvement of this network took place from 1990-1995. Also in 1995, a campus fiber task force was organized by the networking division of the Office of Information Technology (now ATN-N&C) to advise the selection process of a vendor for electronic data communications equipment to connect the physical fiber infrastructure to all University buildings. This process resulted in the initial acquisition of campus fiber network equipment for 30 buildings and the first installation of these network electronics in January 1996.

Since that time over 3700 high speed network switch devices have been installed in over 137 contiguous on-campus buildings, with the final connection made in the summer of 1998. Each of these buildings is connected to this network with at least 100 Mb/sec to the backbone.  The backbone core and new buildings/upgrades are being connected with 1000 Mb/sec (gigabit) links.  Concurrently, evolution of within-building networking continues to occur, migrating from a shared 10 Mb/sec Ethernet throughout entire buildings to the delivery of switched/dedicated 100 Mb/sec bandwidth to the desktop, with 100 Mb/sec inter-floor uplinks.

An additional group of approximately 20 off-campus rental property locations are connected back to the campus network with leased T1 (1.5 Mb/sec) connectivity. Efforts are continuing to find alternative connectivity options (such as leased dark fiber from Bell South) for these locations more in-line with the on-campus bandwidth capabilities. There is still an unresolved issue in these locations as to who pays the monthly costs associated with data services from local telecommunications providers.

The project to evolve the UNC-CH network is not stopping with the aforementioned 1998 milestone. The evolving nature of data communications needs within a vibrant academic and research university means that there will always need to be resources devoted to this project. During the summer of 1998, for example, we began the rollout of a phased implementation of Cabletron's (now Enterasys) "SecureFast" technology. This has allowed for the existence of "virtual LANs" (VLANs), not dependent upon geographical location on-campus for network addresses; control of protocol broadcasts at the individual switch port level; and support for IP multicast.  Since that time, the industry has standardized on a technology called 802.1Q for VLAN deployment; however, the feature set available for 802.1Q implementation from network vendors is still less than the capabilities available under SecureFast.  At some point in the future, we will need to migrate from SecureFast to 802.1Q, but not until we have systems and management capabilities at least as good as the present.

Immediately following the initial 1995 migrations of data from the campus coaxial cable system, planning was taken up to
allow video networking to migrate as well. At the time, no satisfactory video over IP technologies were available, so the
existing coaxial sites were migrated over the subsequent three years to a 32 node dedicated fiber optic system. This
system is known as the campus Contribution Video network and serves teleclassrooms, video production studios, and
links to other video networks such as NCREN and Time Warner cable. The systems has proven extremely reliable but is
reaching end of life cycle.

Concurrent with the deployment of the Contribution Video network, ATN Networking began laying the foundation for
an ultimate migration of all video and audio transport services to IP.  This technology was nascent and therefore
involved a degree of research and development to fully understand the issues involved both in the audio/video
protocols themselves, and also in the performance requirements of the underlying network to support them.  By
coordinating efforts with similar universities involved in the Internet2 project, UNC has developed one of the strongest
video over IP infrastructures in the world and is well respected for that in the academic IT community.  This approach is
paying off as the campus user community is participating strongly in the video conferencing and multicast projects.
These distributed projects are dwarfing the centrally managed Contribution Video network and clearly represent the
campus direction for the immediate future.

The summary of work that follows is the statement of work necessary to keep the data and video network at UNC ahead of the needs of our users.

1.3 Key Personnel

Jim Gogan, Director
Mike Hawkins, Associate Director for Network Management and Consulting
Cindy Henshaw, Analysts/Consultants Group
Dee Jarrell, Analysts/Consultants Group
Todd Lane, Analysts/Consultants Group
Alison Perkins, Analysts/Consultants Group
Jim Kitchen, Associate Director for Network Engineering and Wide-Area Networking
Bill McAllister, Wide-Area Network Analyst
Barry Williams, Supervisor for Engineering Group
Dennis Payne, Engineering Group
Don Cooper, Engineering Group
Len Needham, Engineering Group
Kelly Boley, Engineering Group
Laddie Dennis, Engineering Group
Alan Murray, Engineering Group
Joni Keller, Systems Programmer
Hiawatha Demby, Systems Programmer
Tyler Johnson, Video Networking Analyst
Tim Poe, Multimedia Analyst/Consultant
1.4 Deliverables - Networking

The  networking staff of ATN Networking and Communications is responsible for the management of data and video networking on the campus backbone and within all buildings of UNC-CH from the wall plate to the Internet. It is important to note what is NOT a Networking and Communications-deliverable; responsibility from the wall plate to the Internet does not include desktop computer software or hardware, network interface cards, or "network"/LAN operating systems.

General deliverables by ATN Networking and Communications include the following:

Specific deliverables of data communications by ATN Networking and Communications include the following: 1.5 Expected Benefits (from a user's perspective)

The benefit of the above deliverables to our users is to maintain and to keep evolving a high-performance, high-availability networking environment that will stay ahead of the needs of the UNC-CH faculty, staff, and students in their education, research, administration, and service missions. The  network is viewed as critical to the other missions of information technology at UNC-CH; without a data and video network as described in this statement of work, most other areas of work by central, departmental, and other information technology services at UNC-CH would not function.

2.0 Approach

2.1 Timeline - Major Milestones

2.2 Assignment of Responsibilities

General deliverables: All ATN Networking & Communications staff have responsibility for these deliverables.
 

  • Responsibilities for specific deliverables are distributed to ATN Networking and Communications staff as follows:
  • 3.0 Resource Requirements

    3.1 Hardware, software, etc.

    3.2 Expected commitments 3.3 Concerns 4.0 Risks and Concerns

    4.1 Project Assumptions

    4.2 Constraints 4.3 Contingency Plans 5.0 Acceptance Criteria

    5.1 Expected Results

    A technology staff manager on the UNC-CH campus put it best in terms of what the network needs to continue to do: "Access to information on our local data network and access to information on the Internet or on Internet2 should be as fast, and accurate as if you were reading data off your own hard-drive on the computer you are using."

    This service needs to provide both high performance and high reliability to every UNC-CH building every day of the year, 24 hours a day, with as little as possible down time. Efforts to quantify the acceptable down time are continuing.

    5.2 Acceptance Testing Approach

    Acceptance of the network is accomplished when the expected results are met. Acceptance of the network is accomplished when  appropriate levels of latency, jitter and packet loss are met and demonstrated to the network users. These standards must be constantly re-evaluated to meet the growing needs of the network.

    5.3 Termination of Project

    This project, the management of the "networking process", is an on-going process.