Campus Life

Next gen part of SAB networking technology

The Science and Academic Building features the latest technologies in networking systems by Cisco Systems. This intent-based networking makes use of policy, machine learning and advanced automation to control the network.

A team of specialists was involved in setting up the SAB network, including, from left to right, Steve Estephan (Cisco), Omar Duenas (U of L network analyst), Sean Gray (U of L wireless network analyst), Jeff Oliver (centre, U of L network and telecom manager), Shaun Ginter (Long View Systems), Ian Procyk (Cisco) and Don Orlik (Cisco).

“The network infrastructure we’ve put in the new building is a new generation of networking, where it’s not so much about moving data around as it is about doing so in a safe and secure environment,” says Jeff Oliver (BSc ’96), the University of Lethbridge’s manager of Network and Telecommunications.

The benefits of Cisco’s Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) solution include features such as enhanced network security, increased operational effectiveness and automation based on policy. It can also provide increased visibility into traffic patterns allowing faster and better insight to compromised workstations and accounts. SD-Access weaves together wired and wireless networks. Users and devices can be easily added and a consistent policy —determined by the resources needed — follows a user wherever they may go on the network.

“The network we’ve installed is a new way of doing things for the U of L. The rest of the network on campus is still very manual and the goal over the next five years or so is to extend this new policy-based infrastructure across the rest of the campus,” says Oliver. “The largest driver of this is being able to provide the required access to needed resources in a secure manner. We find ourselves in a place where security of data is increasingly important, whether it’s from viruses, ransomware or a myriad of growing threats. SD-Access is part of a solution that enables us to deal with threats faster and more efficiently.”

The new network provides increased visibility into online traffic patterns, which allows a machine that’s been compromised to be quickly identified.

“The majority of the campus community likely won’t notice any difference in how the network operates, however, in the long term we will see a safer and more secure network,” he says.