Case 3: University Networking

Case Overview:

A small liberal arts university in the southwestern Chicago suburbs is seeking to implement a campus-wide network that will facilitate better communication amongst the entire university community, better sharing of institutional resources including equipment, software, and data. The university employs 300 faculty and staff in two multi-story buildings. The university also has a satellite campus in an industrial complex approximately 17 miles west.

Currently, 50% of the staff and 65% of the faculty have desktop computers, but the computers are quite old and need to be upgraded. An anonymous gift of $1,500,000 was given to the university for technology, and it is these funds that will be used to place modern workstations on each desk top, build the campus network, and enable network and projection technology in some classrooms and the library.

Your job, as an outside consultant, is to complete a needs analysis that includes capacity and network planning, recommend a physical plant appropriate for the uses of this commuter campus that will be viable for the next 7-10 years, design and recommend at least one campus-wide networking solution that will enable file sharing, messaging (including telephony), and student service applications (bursar, admissions, registration, financial aid--BARF). The campus-wide network must interconnect with NetIllinois for Internet connectivity. Finally, medium-quality desktop video must be implemented between one classroom at the satellite campus and one computer classroom at the main campus.

All members of the university community will have LAN and UNIX-shell accounts for messaging and Internet services. Additionally, the administration has mandated that "e-lockers" be given to all students, providing 5 Mgs of centralized server-based storage that is available both locally and remotely.

Functional Specifications:

Offices and Work Areas:

Offices and work areas are distributed relatively evenly between the two buildings on the main campus. Five offices are located at the satellite campus, with three full-time staff offices and two part-time faculty offices that are shared by all faculty who teach at the campus. Faculty and staff need access to file and application servers, printers, and CD-ROM towers at the library.


There are 24 classrooms, 12 in each building, plus 3 classrooms at the satellite campus. Each classroom must have at least one point of connectivity to the network. Classrooms must be able to do point-to-point and reflector-based desktop video conferencing, as well as access file servers, application servers, printers, and the Internet. Roll-around computer workstations will be available for faculty from the Library for checkout for classroom use. Ceiling-mount project devices have been specified for two auditoria (one in each main-campus building, each seating 75 people) and LCD display devices will be used in all other rooms. The technology committee has asked for your input/recommendation on these devices.

Computer Laboratories:

There are three 24-station computer labs for the university (one in each university building). Lab machines will be P200s with 32 Mg of RAM, 15" SVGA monitors, and CD-ROM drives. Lab machines must have access to special file and application servers set up for student use, as well as access to high-speed printing in the labs, library resources (CD-ROM towers, on-line catalogs, etc.) and Internet access. All students will be given LAN accounts and a UNIX-shell e-mail account, so no anonymous users will be using the lab computers.


The library has some special needs which will require an initial purchase of at least one dedicated server, with an additional server to follow in the next fiscal year. The library is joining the state library network, which is moving to DRA software for delivery of card catalog services, interlibrary loan, circulation management, and collection management. The DRA software is RAM intensive for technical services applications (everything mentioned above except card catalog services) and requires Windows NT or OS/2 as an operating system. Library technical and professional staff must have full access to all university computing resources (file and application servers, printers, Internet, etc.). In addition to library staff machines, repurposed P100s will be distributed throughout the library as "card catalog" stations. These machines will run a web-based interface to the DRA card catalog system, but do not need access to any other application or file servers.


Anonymous gift: $1,500,000
University Contribution $ 250,000