Upgrading the Campus Network:
Why Now, and How
Even before the COVID pandemic shifted the ways in which we all work, it had become clear that Princeton would need an increasingly sophisticated network to keep up with the breadth and pace of our research and innovation. Then, once the University shifted formally to remote learning and collaboration, the need for mobility became critical, increasing the urgency for a campus-wide upgrade.
How the Upgrade Helps
Whether you are faculty or student, researcher or staff, the new network has benefits that speak directly to how you work (or in the case of gamers, play). Let’s get specific:
More sturdy and reliable.
Once the network upgrade is done, the risk of outages or downtime will be virtually nil — a fraction of a minute a month. That’s because we’re building more redundancy into the network; in other words, if one component fails, another component will automatically take over for it, so service goes on uninterrupted.
For a world-class research institution working with industry leaders and governments alike, the new network offers essential protection against the very real threat of cyberattack or ransomware. Not a researcher? That same security model protects any secure information and defies phishing attempts.
security threats stopped (past 6 months)
Higher speeds and capacity.
Whatever type of devices you’re using, if they’re up to date (i.e. less than 3-4 years old, Wi-Fi 6 compatible), you’ll see faster performance and lower latency (lag time) once the upgrade is complete. That’s more than enough capacity for most computing needs, including streaming and gaming. Different needs? See our FAQs.
faster speeds (lower latency)
network devices can be supported
In OIT’s recent Campus Voice Survey, mobility ranked #1 among students’ technology priorities. (Staff ranked it #3.) What’s more, mobility doesn’t mean compromise; remember, the upgraded wireless network will be fully redundant and more reliable than ever.
fewer wireless incidents (since 9/21)
Timing the Migration
Most of the work (like changing out the network infrastructure and migrating devices, building by building, onto the new network) has already begun. Roughly, the timeline looks like this:
- February 2021 — design of new resilient campus network complete
- December 2021 — new network switches installed in campus buildings
- February 2022 — building infrastructure/phone migration complete
- December 2023 — projected migration of all end user devices
What Your Department Can Expect
- There should be no disruption of workflow for faculty, students, researchers and non-technical staff during the infrastructure migration. That’s because it involves planned outages — each only a matter of minutes, and scheduled during the overnight hours.
- During the move of end-user devices to the new network — a 1-3 day period, depending on the complexity of your building connections — there is potential for disruption. However, your department will be consulted on which day(s) the move is done.
- While your department’s IT support person may have to take on additional network responsibilities during this time, OIT will be providing extra support to ensure the same responsiveness you get from your go-to IT support.
To learn when your building will be migrated to the new network, speak with your department’s IT support specialist.
Want to go deeper into any of the details? Check out our General FAQs.
SCAD/DCS technical resources
- Find network migration information and tools (login required)