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Wireless Service: major upgrade scheduled for 10–13 December

last modified Jan 25, 2019 11:06 AM
We’re moving the Wireless Service onto its own routed network to increase wireless controller network speed and capacity. The works are scheduled to take place between Monday 10 December and Thursday 13 December, during which there will be brief periods of unavoidable disruption, which we will endeavour to keep to a minimum.

The work involves relocating both the primary the backup wireless controller infrastructure. To do this, we'll be switching off one half of the system at a time. This allows us to keep the system running throughout, but it does mean that we’ll have no automatic resiliency in the event of a failure. As a result, the service should be considered to be at risk throughout this period.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this upgrade. We'll make every effort to keep the amount of disruption to a minimum, but any work on a live system – especially work as complex as this – carries risk. If you have any queries or concerns, please contact .

The aims and benefits of the upgrade

The Wireless Service consumes more network traffic than the rest of the Data Centre Server Network combined, and more than any single University site. It accounts for almost 40% of the University's internet traffic, and continues to experience phenomenal client and traffic growth.

To keep pace with the growing demand, we're moving the Wireless Service away from the Data Centre Server Network and onto its own routed network, which will be connected to the Cambridge University Data Network (CUDN) at the distribution layer. This will enable an increase in speed and capacity for the Wireless Service central equipment, and frees up capacity on the Data Centre Network. It also gives us an opportunity to further enhance our resiliency arrangements.

Schedule of works

Before Monday 10 December

  • Install new Nexus 9K routing equipment in the Central Networking Hub (CNH) and the West Cambridge Data Centre (WCDC) and (temporarily) connect to existing Data Centre Server Network. This should not cause any disruption to users.

Monday 10 December

  • Switch off backup controllers in the WCDC and move them to their new location in the CNH (which will become the backup site).
  • After 17:30, switch on backup controllers and resync.
  • This should cause no disruption to users, but will there will be no resiliency during this day’s work.

Tuesday 11 December

  • Move routing from the Data Centre Server Network to the new Wireless Network.
  • There is the potential for a small period of disruption during this change as the traffic reroutes.

Wednesday 12 December

  • No changes to be made.

Thursday 13 December

  • At 08:00, primary controllers will be disabled, which will cause a failover to the (now relocated) backup controllers in the CNH. eduroam connections will be maintained but UniOfCam connections will require re-authentication. (eduroam users won't experience an interruption.)
  • After 09:00, the disabled primary equipment will be moved from the Data Centre in the Roger Needham Building (RNB) to the WCDC.
  • At 15:00, we'll boot up and sync the primary master controller and run tests.
  • At 17:30, we'll reinstate the rest of the primary local controllers (the ones that in normal operation co-ordinate the activity of access points and clients) and test them. The WCDC will now be the Wireless Service's primary site (but it will now be on its own network, separate from the Server Network). Again, UniOfCam connections will require re-authentication, but eduroam users will be unaffected.
  • Disconnect the (now) redundant links to the Data Centre Server Network.

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