Ohio Christian University now boasts a mighty network thanks to recent upgrades and optimization by John Bocook; Assistant Vice President of Information Technology and Jared Bader, Director of Network Operations. With over 3,600 students – 80% of which are remote – a stable network connection is crucial for students and professors.
"There have been issues in the past where we have had to shut down our internet connection, which, in turn, shuts down our user authentication," Bocook said. "Our remote students couldn't login in to the learning management system. Because of this new redundancy that we put into place; we simply switch everything over."
The redundant connections are actually fiber service from two different providers, Frontier and Spectrum. These connections are then linked to the OARnet network is, which is a dedicated, statewide, fiber-optic network that serves Ohio K-12, universities and other organizations.
“We use Frontier & Spectrum to connect to the OARnet network. OARNet handles all traffic routing from there,” Bocook said. “Utilizing the OARnet fiber backbone allows us to replicate our entire infrastructure and data systems in real time to Metro Data, our co-located data center.”
The two providers are configured so both connections act as one and in the event there’s an outage, all traffic moves over to the provider that’s up.
“Without OARnet handling the public routing, we are limited to having to segment parts of the campus out of one connection or the other – which isn’t a feasible solution. Connecting to OARnet’s fiber backbone opens up new possibilities usually out of reach for an organization our size.”
This fiber backbone provides more than just redundancy, it has also significantly improved network speeds. Ohio Christian upgraded from a 250mb single provider feed connection to two load-balanced 400mb connections with redundant firewalls and core switches. Previously, nearly half of all bandwidth went toward media streaming services. Thanks to OARnet’s new content subscription service, Ohio Christian now has a dedicated 200mb connection assigned specifically for Netflix and other video streaming services. This allows business traffic to be uninterrupted by the heavy bandwidth demands of content streaming.
"This is something that I haven't seen many other schools do, regardless of size," Bocook said. "It's important for us to provide the best service we can to our students. Staff and faculty get the benefit of this too, so, we're all really excited."
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