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The Network Modernization Initiative is a three-year project to improve and modernize MSU Denver’s network infrastructure by replacing aging wired and wireless network equipment. In addition to providing a more stable and reliable foundation for our enterprise networks, this project will also provide greater monitoring capabilities and security measures for increased cyber security – all in service of the University’s number one strategic goal to attract, prepare, and graduate students equipped to succeed in the 21st century.
ITS has identified improvements that could be made to networking infrastructure in 26 campus buildings. Over the course of three years, ITS will improve infrastructure in these buildings by replacing distribution- and access-layer switches and wireless access points, as well as providing additional network paths between campus buildings. Building prioritization was based on building occupancy, performance feedback, network complexity, and the age and health of existing infrastructure.
MSU Denver has been given a three-year grant by Colorado’s Joint Technology Committee to support this initiative, for the betterment of both MSU Denver and the greater community. The first phase of the three-year grant was completed in December 2022, with upgrades to Central Classroom (November 20th – 23rd) and JSSB (December 16th – 22nd). The second phase was completed as of August 14, 2023, which included the Physical Education (March 20th – 22nd) and Science (August 8th – 14th) buildings.
Now that phase 2 is complete, work has started on phase 3 to upgrade the Plaza/Health Center, Administration, and West Classroom buildings. Equipment has been ordered for all three upgrades, and after meetings with various stakeholders, the Plaza building upgrade has been scheduled for December 16th – 19th, 2023. Tentative timelines for the other two buildings have also been set: the Administration Building in March 2024 (during spring break) and West Classroom in August 2024.
The entirety of the three-phase project is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2024.
Plaza Building / Health Center installation dates: December 16th – 19th, 2023
Administration Building installation dates: March 2024
West Classroom Building installation dates: August 2024
The Network Modernization Initiative will modernize MSU Denver’s network infrastructure, addressing issues with deferred maintenance and outdated network infrastructure. MSU Denver’s campus network and Wi-Fi have been impacted by a number of issues and outages due to the age of existing network infrastructure and lack of redundancy. For example, from September 2021 to May 2022, there were 537 total network alerts for critical issues or unavailable hardware. The vast majority of these issues (408) were due to old network switches’ power supply modules failing, causing the entire device to fail. By replacing these older switches with modernized ones that have dual power supply modules, these issues would be greatly reduced. Replacing equipment would also address other reported issues – uplink ports going bad, access points failing and requiring reboots, firmware updates to support newer client devices – and help remediate problems with signal interference and lack of coverage.
Pillar V of the 2030 Strategic Plan details Organizational Agility and Sustainability. The Network Modernization Initiative achieves this goal through continuous process improvement of our physical infrastructure with incremental changes while continuously evaluating the results. The initiative aims to continue this cycle as the infrastructure is improved across campus. This initiative also helps achieve the University’s goal of becoming Colorado’s most desired place of employment by bettering the infrastructural backbone of the University to provide a better experience for all students, faculty, and staff.