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UNH IT department revamps outdated internet networks

By Logan Hill, Staff Writer

You may have seen the new change in University of New Hampshire Internet networks — to UNH-Secure and UNH-Public.

Since October 2013, UNH’s Information Technology department has been working to redesign the UNH Internet network. The goal of the project, brought on by outdated and failing code and hardware, was to update the UNH Internet infrastructure to modern potential.

“We took the opportunity to do a complete review of our technology and investigated some other products at that point,” said Bryan Scovill from UNH Network Operations.

The planning began in late 2013, deciding which products to keep and which to replace. They decided to use a new client, JunOS Pulse, to help avoid previous problems with connecting to the Internet and create a network better suited to wireless connections.

“The Pulse client is more resilient and better withstands network ‘hiccups,’” Scovill said. “Also, the new client has much wider compatibility across different operating systems than the old one.”

While the new network will not be perfect due to the lag between the release of Operating Systems and the release of network software, the upgrade should support more devices now than the previous network.

Another advantage to the new network is the ease of system updates; where in the previous network the client and server codes tied, making updates very burdensome for the users.

“The more recent code breaks that tie and, additionally, greatly improves the client update process,” Scovill said. 

The new network also brings increased security, allowing firewalls to function more precisely and control which users can access information — protecting student data more accurately than before.

Actual implementation of the network began in April of this year.

“We ran new and old [networks] parallel until the end of July to give people the opportunity to migrate at their own pace,” Scovill said. 

The new network is up-to-date — connectivity should be easier, faster, more reliable and available on more devices, with updates to be expected more frequently with less impact to the users.

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