VolNET: Project Summary

The Knoxville campus of The University of Tennessee has initiated a major upgrade and modernization of the computer network infrastructure. This infrastructure consists of the campus wiring (inter- and intra-building), network equipment, operational protocols, as well as other hardware/software components. The computer network represents the foundation for accomplishing many of the initiatives proposed by the President including ubiquitous educational offerings, enhanced scientific computing, high speed/reliable campus connectivity, and wireless communications.

The multi-phased improvement of the University communications infrastructure includes:

  1. Upgrade of the existing fiber optic cable plant to single-mode fiber. Installation of new fiber-optic cable into areas previously without network access.
  2. Replacement of the legacy FDDI and ATM network backbone with a more robust, yet greatly simplified, Gigabit Ethernet backbone. Installation of 24x7x365 hardened Operation Center to enable around-the-clock operation and access.
  3. Renumbering of the current Class B IP address-space using a more efficient algorithm to allow anticipated future growth in mobile computing.
  4. Deployment of university-wide services that will permit greater mobility (DHCP), authentication and authorization (LDAP, PKI), directory services (LDAP), enhanced online phonebook (LDAP), and secure remote access to computing services (VPN).
  5. Adoption of a university-wide naming convention for computer/network/application usernames (NetID). Every university staff and student has been issued a NetID. Existing Ph aliases have been grandfathered wherever possible.
  6. Completion of intra-building wiring. Installation of new CAT5 cable where none exists. Upgrade of existing cable to meet current specifications.
  7. Installation of an IEEE 802.11b wireless network infrastructure campus wide to permit wireless computing.

What does this mean for the campus community?

  • A more robust, scalable, and fault-tolerant network; network ports for all employees and office/lab space.
  • New services that permit seamless, un-tethered, and secure access to all campus information and computing resources.

Over the next thirteen months, each of the more than 120 buildings and approximately 15,000 network-attached computers on campus will have to be visited. Over the next sixty months, an estimated 75 buildings will have to have internal wiring installed, some installations requiring substantial improvements.

The DII staff is making every effort to ensure that the improvements are as transparent and painless as possible. Yet, some inconvenience will no doubt be experienced. We ask that each of you cooperate with your local First Responder or IT support person to make the necessary changes as pleasant as possible. Beginning February 1, a network maintenance period has been set for each Wednesday from 10 PM to Thursday 2 AM for planned preemption of network services. The network services will only be interrupted when necessary and will normally be isolated to specific campus locations.

For more information as to when your area will be affected or more technical information on the project itself, please visit the VolNet website at http://volnet.utk.edu. Prior to the cutover for each building, a DII staff member will be designated as the primary building liaison to facilitate a smooth transition. General informational meetings will be held for building occupants two months prior to their building cutover (listed on the web site) and individual meetings will be held with each department to discuss specific concerns about the building cutover. For the latest notifications and information, please join the net-events listserv as posted at the VolNet website.

Question? email the webmaster.

Division of Information Infrastructure