Communication Systems & Data Centers Service Life Cycle

The lifecycle is designed to provide information for campus on communication systems and data center technologies . Review the diagram below or scroll down to learn more about any of the technologies listed.

Individual Services

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Resources for Networks & Communications Systems

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) (or Bring Your Own Everything [BYOE]) allows for students, faculty, and staff to access university tools (e.g., networks, security, storage, printing, etc.) on their personally owned devices wherever they learn, work, or live. 

Some services and information resources available today related to BYOD for networks and communication systems include:

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) — Configuration profiles are available for  devices to use a VPN to securely access important information and materials when students, faculty and staff are physically away from U-M campus networks. 
  • WiFi Setup Tool — Configures devices for campus WiFi networks and makes MWireless the preferred, primary network when on campus. Also configures devices to use eduroam, a secure WiFi network provided on many university and college campus. Once configured, students, faculty, and staff can login to eduroam while visiting other campuses without having to set up a guest account at that institution.
  • WiFi Calling — Allows for phone calls and text messages in locations where WiFi is available but cellular coverage is inadequate. Students, faculty, and staff need to configure this personally owned devices so that WiFi calling is possible  when needed across campus. 
  • Device Connection Guide — Provides guidance to campus about electronic devices that can be connected to the campus network and how to connect them. This guide also provides guidance on which devices are unable to connect to the campus network and which can degrade the network for others if used on campus.

Other ITS teams are also thinking about how to deliver BYOD services such as printing, storage, security, and support.

BYOD is a mature trend on campus with students, faculty, and researchers personally owned or grant funded devices that are not managed by campus IT professionals heavily across campus today. We expect this to continue over time.

Cable Television

ITS delivers cable television channels to university students, faculty, and staff on the Ann Arbor campus via a coaxial cable infrastructure. ITS:

  • Provides the physical fiber and coaxial cable infrastructure to deliver this service.
  • Serves as the intermediary and negotiator for campus with Comcast (our current vendor). 
  • Provides the back-end technology to receive Comcast content and deliver it to campus.
  • Bills campus units for the infrastructure and content.

The university has approximately 11,000 cable drops in Housing, 700 drops in Athletics, and 700 drops in other academic and administrative units across campus. This number is falling annually as digital distribution of TV content is on the rise, giving more power and choice to viewers. Preferences are shifting away from traditional cable bundles and schedules in favor of on-demand content via mobile devices, set top boxes, and Internet-connected televisions. Content delivery is shifting to IP-based methods, creating new ways to purchase content through extended licensing and subscription models. Providers are competing for customers by introducing new products and services for the next generation of TV.

ITS is preparing for when Housing, the university’s largest cable consumer, discontinues offering the service to students i their rooms as of FY2018. This will likely move the entire university to an IP-based model. At this time, ITS would continue to deliver the IP network infrastructure for streaming, but may or may not serve as an intermediary and negotiator for content.

UMTV (Coaxial Cable Television) is a mature technology that has wide adoption today. We anticipate it will decline sharply on campus due to industry changes and student demand.

Cellular Femtocell

Cellular femtocell are devices that are designed to improve cellular coverage in small spaces for a limited number of pre-defined cellular numbers. Typically provided by cellular carriers, femtocells are typically used in homes or other small areas with inadequate cellular coverage. The femtocell attaches to the broad-band network and is authorized for use by a limited number of devices. 

ITS anticipates that cellular femtocells could be used in spaces in university buildings with inadequate coverage where DAS or other systems do not appear to alleviate the problem or WiFi calling is not an alternative. 

Femtocells are an emerging technology that we anticipate could be used on a limited basis when other cellular improvement efforts are not successful.

Core Network

Backbone, Internet, DLs, Routers, IPS, Firewalls, MILR, 100G 10G Connections

The University of Michigan core network (or backbone) provides all wired and wireless connections needed across campus by connecting our buildings’ local area networks with the larger internet. 

ITS operates the core network (UMnet backbone). This includes:

  • 1 (or 2) distribution layer switch (DLs) in each university building and data center which are routed for redundant connections to at least two of the 
  • 4 Juniper MX960 carrier grade routers located in four distinct campus locations which are connected redundantly to one another

Our DLs currently are connected at either 10 Gb/s or 1 Gb/s speeds, depending upon the age and location of the switch. The routers are connected to one another at 100 Gb/s.

Placed between our core network and the internet to protect the university from network attacks, vulnerabilities, and malicious activity are:

  • 2 high availability Intrusion Protection Service devices monitoring all in and outbound traffic 
  • Numerous university and unit virtual firewalls

ITS has worked to move many units, where appropriate, away from firewalls and being the IPS devices, though it will vary over time which units need IPS, firewalls, or both forms of security.

The University works with Merit Network for our external connectivity. Merit connects us with:

  • The Internet and
  • Internet2, which provide education and research connectivity

Together these connections also provide the university with redundant connections, if needed.

ITS also has the Michigan Light Rail (MILR) dense wave division multiplex network connecting the university, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and our regional network hub in Chicago. This fiber network has a ring connection such that if one side of the ring fails, traffic can travel in the opposite direction providing redundancy, if needed. It can support up to 96 simultaneou 100 Gb/s connections.

Our core network is a mature service with high adoption across campus. ITS anticipates this to continue over time.

Note: The University of Michigan Health System and the Medical Center Information Technology group operates a separate UMHS backbone.

DAS (University Owned & Managed)

A distributed antenna system (DAS) is a network of antennas connected to existing phone and network infrastructure that can help amplify existing cellular, 800 MHz radio, and other signals. On campus:

  • Cellular signals are provided by the various carriers (e.g., Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile).
  • Analog 800 MHz signals are delivered on campus by Facilities and Operations for Plant Operations and Department of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) radio systems.
  • Digital 800 MHz signals are delivered by the State of Michigan for DPSS and first responders (e.g., fire, ambulance, etc.).

ITS is partnering with Facilities and Operations; the Department of Public Safety and Security; Architecture, Engineering, and Construction; and others to ensure that both analog and digital 800 MHz (and cellular) signals can be received consistently throughout campus. One technology that ITS is exploring to amplify 800 MHz signals is distributed antenna systems (DAS), a network of antennas connected to existing phone and network infrastructure. ITS is working to determine if we can install DAS systems across campus in new buildings during construction, existing buildings during renovations, and in buildings with historically poor coverage. 

The new Munger Graduate Residences building project includes one of the first in-building DAS systems. It was designed to insure 800 MHz coverage for life safety, and ITS partnered with cellular carriers, allowing them to tie equipment into the DAS to improve cellular coverage for their customers. 

DAS is a mature technology that we anticipate will be widely used across campus to amplify 800MHz and cellular signals in campus buildings.

DAS (Vendor Owned & Managed)

A distributed antenna system (DAS) is a network of antennas connected to existing phone and network infrastructure that can help amplify existing cellular, 800 MHz radio, and other signals. Prior to early university-owned DAS installation, several cellular providers installed:

  • 35 exterior nodes across campus, Michigan Stadium, and the health system.
  • Interior DAS equipment in the new Von Voigtlander Women’s and C.S. Mott Children’s hospitals.
  • Interior AT&T and Verizon equipment in 4 university athletic buildings.
  • Interior equipment in 5 College of Engineering buildings.

ITS desires to see a more consistent DAS approach across campus. They are working with Facilities and Operations; the Department of Public Safety and Security; Architecture, Engineering, and Construction; and others to determine if we can install DAS systems across campus in new buildings during construction, existing buildings during renovations, and in buildings with historically poor coverage. If expanded, a consistent DAS approach could make it easier for cellular providers to extend their coverage across campus.

DAS is a mature technology that we anticipate will be widely used across campus to amplify 800MHz and cellular signals in campus buildings. We anticipate that vendor solutions will continue to compliment a university owned and managed solution.

GSM, CDMA, & LTE

GSM (Global System for Mobiles) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) represent the two major radio systems initially used in cellular telephones. They are both multiple access technologies, allowing individuals to send multiple calls and/or Internet connections into a single radio channel.

GSM is provided by an industry consortium and is used more widely across the globe. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technology. GSM technologies have evolved faster over time and can provide speeds as high as 42Mb/s.

CDMA is owned by Qualcomm and is used heavily in the United States. Spring, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular use CDMA technology. Most national CDMA networks are limited to 3.6 Mb/s, and rather than install faster CDMA technologies, carriers are switching to 4G LTE.

LTE (long term evolution) is the term developed by the International Telecommunication Union to describe carriers working to achieve 4G (4th generation) technology and  speeds. When 4G speeds were initially announced, most carriers were unable to reach the minimum speeds, but provided substantial service improvements over 3G technologies. The ITU determined that LTE would define technology that was in pursuit of 4G speeds, and carriers achieving significant service improvements could classify their service as providing next generation technology.

Many faculty, staff, students, and guests are arrive on campus with smartphones supported by the major cellular carriers, which provide 4G LTE service. Each cellular carrier owns, manages, and maintains their own networks and infrastructure. As such, ITS cannot directly provide or improve cellular service and coverage. Instead, ITS maintains cellular vendor relations, work  closely with carriers, and encourages them to improve their coverage on campus whenever possible.

GSM, CDMA, and 4G LTE are mature technologies with high adoption across campus.

In-Building WiFi Networks

MWireless, MGuest, UM Wireless and WiFi 11ac, n, g, and WiGig

In Building Wireless (WiFi) Networks allow campus to communicate through wireless local area networks on their laptops, tablets, cellular phones, and other devices. 

We provide three wireless networks across campus:

  • MWireless is designed for students, faculty, and staff. It provides the most secure network, using the strongest level of encryption available today. Members of the campus community are strongly urged to use MWireless when working on campus.
  • eduroam is an alternate, secure WiFi network designed for students, faculty and staff. It is available at the university and other universities and colleges nation and world-wide. When visiting other universities that provide an eduroam network, simply enter your U-M email and password to access the network. 
  • MGuest is designed for guests to the university (e.g., parents, community members). Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged not to use MGuest as their primary network, as it is less secure and speed limited so some applications may not work on this network.
  • UM Wireless Network is an older campus network that has been retired, and is not recommended for use at this time.

Additional services we provide to make WiFi use easy at the university include:

  • A Wireless MSetup Tool to assist campus in configuring personal devices our networks and to make MWireless your primary network when on campus. 
  • A Device Connection Guide with instructions for setting up common wireless devices on our networks and which devices are not compatible. 
  • A WiFi Locations Map providing an interactive map of campus buildings and their current level of WiFi coverage.

As our campus networks are deployed or renovated, ITS works to adopt the newest and most reliable WiFi standard available. At this time, our standard is WiFi 802.11ac (using the 5 GHz wireless band). We also support:  802.11n (uses both 2.4GHz and 5GHz), 802.11g (2.4GHz), and 802.11a (5 GHz). Many older standards will be replaced as part of the WiFi Upgrade Project, which will upgrade Ann Arbor campus buildings between 2013 and 2017.

In-Building Wired Networks

10g Desktop Fiber, 1 GB Ethernet Desktop, 100G to Internet, Desktop Cat5eCopper, 10MBPS Ethernet, Northwood Cable Modems

In Building Wired Networks allow campus to communicate through wired connections for their computers, printers, and other teaching, learning, and research devices that required an ethernet connection.

ITS provides one wired network on campus for students, faculty, and staff.

As our campus networks are deployed or renovated, ITS works to adopt new and cost effective infrastructure solutions that provide both high speeds and reliability. At this time, our standard for new wired connections include:

  • Cat5e copper cabling  delivering 1 Gb/s speed. We also support older campus standards of Cat3 cabling which delivers either 100 Mb/S or 10 Mb/S. These standards will continue to be supported, even as infrastructure is upgraded, as some devices require lower speed communications.
  • 2 wired connections per faceplate in offices, classrooms, and labs—1 for data and 1 for voice. This provides data and phone connections today, and the ability to reconfigure the voice connection in the future if the campus moves to VoIP phone technology.

This wired network currently provides campus up to 40 Gb/s connections to the commodity internet and up to 100Gb/s to Internet2 and our research networks.

Wired networking is a recommended mature technology with high adoption across campus. ITS anticipates that a robust wired network will continue to be required on campus over time, as it supports WiFi connections today and likely will support phone and video connections in the future. ITS has proposed a $35 million dollar Upgrade Campus Wired Networks project that is being considered by university leaders.

InfiniBand

InfiniBand is a networking technology that is used in high-performance computing, as it features high throughput and low latency. It is most commonly used to interconnect equipment in servers and storage systems.

ITS is using InfiniBand in the Modular Data Center on campus to interconnect the equipment in that facility. The InfiniBand network is then connected by a controller to the larger campus network.

InfiniBand is a mature technology with relatively low adoption on campus at this time.

IPTV

IPTV  is a package of television channels delivered to university students, faculty, and staff on the Ann Arbor campus via the Internet Protocol (IP) hard-wired data network. ITS:

  • Provides the Philo infrastructure to deliver six basic channels to any campus users and an extended set of channels to West Quad residence hall students starting in 2015, as UMTV is no longer available in West Quad following the 2015 building renovation. 
  • Will provide Xfinity to all residents starting in Fall 2016 when it becomes available through Comcast.
  • Provides wired data jacks throughout campus buildings today that can be used by departments and individuals who want a hard-wired network connection to stream their own personal devices.

Digital distribution of TV content is on the rise, giving more power and choice to viewers. Preferences are shifting away from traditional cable bundles and schedules in favor of on-demand content via mobile devices, set top boxes, and Internet-connected televisions. Content delivery is shifting to IP-based methods, creating new ways to purchase content through extended licensing and subscription models. Providers are competing for customers by introducing new products and services for the next generation of TV.

ITS is preparing for when Housing, the university’s largest cable consumer, discontinues offering the service to students i their rooms as of FY2018. This will likely move the entire university to an IP-based model. At this time, ITS would continue to deliver the IP network infrastructure for streaming, but may or may not serve as an intermediary and negotiator for content.

IPTV is an emerging technology with low adoption across campus today. We anticipate adoption will rise, with students using our data jacks to adopt either university-provided content or services they select themselves.

IPv4 and IPv6

Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) are communications protocols that define network location for computers and other devices (e.g., phones, tablets, gaming devices, etc.) that connect to the internet. They also provide a common way for these devices to communicate with one another.

IPv4 is the prevalent address protocol used by devices across campus and around the globe. With over 4 billion IPv4 addresses, this protocol will likely remain the primary IP technology for the next 5-10 years. ITS and other university units have been assigned IPv4 address space from the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) for use across campus. ITS network operations team members assist the university by:

  • Defining the full scope of IP addresses available to the university.
  • Assigning university IP addresses to units for use with their devices.
  • Working with units to more efficiently use the IP address range available to the university.
  • Determining if additional IP addresses are needed over time, and making requests to ARIN as needed.

IPv6 is an emerging protocol designed to provide trillions more IP addresses to supplement IPv4 as the existing address pool is exhausted. ITS network operations team are working with IPv6 today by:

  • Managing the existing IPv6 addresses assigned to the university.
  • Developing a plan for rolling these out over time. 
  • Assisting units and devices with setting up IPv6 connections, as the technology does not always provide the tools for devices to connect seamlessly. 

IPv4 is a mature technology with a high adoption rate.

IPv6 is an emerging technology with low adoption at this time. As the need for additional IP addresses grows, ITS anticipates the maturity to grow and adoption of this technology to be high.

Live Event Streaming

Live Event Streaming is video content of campus events broadcast to students, faculty, staff, or the community which can be viewed live or at a later date/time from a storage archive.

ITS provides on-premises and cloud-based streaming services and storage, depending on the needs of the unit and size of the event. ITS:

  • Receives the request for video streaming.
  • Determines whether to use on-premise or cloud-based solutions.
  • Creates the web address for the recording.
  • Partners with Michigan Media or other vendors providing the audio/video equipment and/or recording staff for events.
  • Sets up the encoding, streaming, server, and network infrastructure required.
  • Monitors the event.
  • Stores the recording.
  • Coordinates billing and payment for our services.

Video streaming is a mature technology with moderate adoption across campus. ITS expects this to continue over time. ITS is moving to cloud-based streaming services wherever possible, as it reduces the overall infrastructure and storage costs for campus.

Local Server Rooms

Locally managed servers and rooms are equipment and facilities located across the university  storing unit data. They are managed by local IT professionals, faculty, graduate students, or others. The model requires a wide range of university staff and faculty to set up, load, configure, operate, monitor, patch, secure, backup and perform power management tasks for these devices and facilities over time. It also requires staff and faculty to securely wipe and dispose of equipment when it is determined to be end of life. Risks to the model are that not all administrators are completing these tasks to the level that the data and equipment is maintained, secured, or backed up in such a manner that it would be recoverable in the event of equipment failure or emergencies (e.g., fires, floods, etc.).

The model developed out of necessity across campus, started at a time where central server and database options were unavailable. ITS now offers university managed data centers which use consistent loading, configuring, operating, monitoring, patching, security, backup, power management, and disposition standard in compliance with university data management policies and best practices.

Locally managing servers are a mature practice. ITS and university executives recommend that the university work to consolidate locally managed servers into centrally managed data centers over time to ensure all university research, teaching, clinical, and administrative data is properly secured and backed up to minimize risks for breaches or data loss.

Modular Data Center (Custom Data Centers)

Modular Data Centers provide reliable data center options with low power, infrastructure, and support costs, making them easier to install, expand, replace, upgrade, or remove. Their high density equipment and small physical footprint makes them less expensive to build and maintain over time.

ITS delivered the first Modular Data Center (MDC) in June 2012 to provide university researchers with high computational data needs. It is housed in two 40 foot “POD” containers on North Campus, and houses 40 racks which hold computers for researchers working with the Advanced Research Computing group.

Researchers working with high performance computing may be interested in learning more about the MDC. They should contact ARC-TS for more information.

Modular Data Centers are a growing technology. ITS recommends that university researchers requiring high computational needs consider the MDC. ITS will continue to watch the need for campus data centers and recommend additional capacity or facilities over time, if appropriate.

Personal Cellular Use for University Business

ITS is currently exploring the use of personal cell phones for university business as one of the alternatives units could select for replacing landline phones if the legacy university phone system is upgraded. For this to be a viable alternative, some of the following alternatives would likely need to be implemented to ensure that students, faculty, staff, and guests are able to communicate on their cellular phones in all campus buildings: 

  • WiFi Calling will likely need to be enabled for the four major cellular vendors.
  • In-Building Distributed Antenna Systems will likely need to be installed in all buildings where coverage is inadequate today and carriers will need to tie into these systems to improve coverage for their customers.

Cellular is a mature technology with high adoption across campus. We anticipate the use of personal cellular for university business to grow as long as we are able to provide adequate cellular signals throughout university buildings.

Smartphones & Cellular on Campus

Smartphones are hand-held devices with a mobile operating system that combines features of a personal computer and other applications with a touch screen user interface. Common smartphone features include: phone, texting, calendar, media player, global positioning system and navigation, Internet browse, cameras, mobile payment, and others. Smartphones use 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) as their standard for wireless communication of high-speed data, and have the ability to connect to wireless networks, where available.

Many faculty, staff, students, and guests are arrive on campus with smartphones supported by the major cellular carriers. Each cellular carrier owns, manages, and maintains their own networks and infrastructure. As such, ITS cannot directly provide or improve cellular service and coverage. Instead, ITS maintains cellular vendor relations, work  closely with carriers, and encourages them to improve their coverage on campus whenever possible. ITS also:

  • Assists vendors in navigating our university culture and business units, helping facilitate activities related to contracts, facilities, operations, and other areas.
  • Partners with carriers to enhance cellular coverage through the installation of exterior antennas/nodes or tying into our Distributed Antenna Systems to improve interior coverage.
  • Communicates advancements like WiFi Calling across campus.
  • Provides vendors data gathered by university tools like MCoverage, to help determine where coverage is poor.

Cellular is a mature technology with high adoption across campus. As long as we are unable to provide or improve this service we will continue to work with cellular carriers to improve the service for students, faculty, and staff.

Software Definable Networks

Software Defined Networks (SDN)/Network Function Virtualization (NFV) allows network administrators to manage and automate network changes and settings (e.g., set up circuits, adjust throughput, dedicate bandwidth, etc.) based on predefined software parameters instead of manual changes by network engineers. SDNs also allow administrators to section off portions of a network or capacity to individuals or groups for testing, research, or high bandwidth activities, minimizing the effect of these activities to others.

At this time we are exploring the use of SDNs  at the university. We are watching the technology and potential uses, as we have the equipment to adopt this technology if use cases arise which might benefit from SDNs. Possible university uses may include:

  • Installing SDN software, such as OpenDaylight, onto all, or some, of the network components in order to provide a single interface to hardware from multiple vendors.
  • Permitting computer science faculty/students to test a new network routing protocol they have developed.
  • Providing a slice of the total network to specific faculty or researchers for dedicated connections to collaborators at another institution.

SDNs are still in the development phase as a technology, and if implemented at the university, ITS expect the adoption rate to be isolated to a very limited group of researchers or network administrators.

Software Definable Radios

Software Definable Radios are communication systems where components that have typically been used in radio hardware (e.g., mixers, filters, amplifiers, modulators) are instead provided via software on a computer or system.

ITS has not implemented any software defined radio systems, but is following the technology as industry experts predict it could be capable of replacing WiFi or augmenting WiFi offering in situations where traditional WiFi isn’t sufficient or available.

Software Definable Radios are an emerging technology, more conceptual than actual products at this time. ITS anticipates if they are implemented on campus that the initial use will be limited.

Streaming Media Players

Streaming media players are home entertainment devices that connect to a network to stream digital media, such as music, pictures, or video. Players are most often brought to campus by students wanting to use the devices in their residence hall rooms. However, faculty and staff are also starting to bring devices to campus and are beginning to request support for these devices so they are able to use them to teach, learn, and work.

ITS does not provide a streaming media player service at this time. However, ITS does currently:

  • Review common devices in the market and provide instructions on how to connect them with the university wired or wireless networks, if possible, on our Device Connection Guide.
  • Continue to explore how we may be able to make these players work better with our enterprise networks as they become increasingly more popular by working with units, faculty, staff, and vendors.

Video streaming is an emerging technology with moderate adoption across campus. ITS expects this to continue over time.

Telepresence Robots

Telepresence is a set of technologies which allow a person or a group to feel as if they were present at a place other than their current location. Telepresence robots are a new alternative for individuals to join meetings, conferences, or events and feel a greater sense of mobility and interaction with their peers from a remote location.

ITS supports telepresence robots at the university by:
Consulting with units on potential robot models (and providing recommendations on which robots have tested and work on our network)
Connecting robots that units purchase with our campus network
Support any connectivity issues experienced by units

Telepresence robots are an emerging technology that ITS expects to have low adoption across campus.

Traditional Telephone Systems

ITS currently supports over 30,000 traditional voice telephones using a Nortel CS2100 switch-based system that was installed on the Ann Arbor Campus in 1984. This system has been identified as “end of life” by the vendor, and we will no longer be able to renew our annual support contract starting in 2018. This poses increasing risk that the equipment will become difficult to support or impossible to restore in the event of a  system failure.

The number of landline phone calls is in decline throughout the University, but the remaining calls are critical. Many faculty and staff expect their phones to work and to provide a high quality connection for interviews, discussions about grants, development, or in case of emergencies. Most students in residence halls no longer use their in-room  phone connection, but will continue to need phones located in easy to access locations in case of emergencies.

ITS has proposed a project to replace the traditional voice system with two options:

  • A standards based Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service. VoIP service can support desk phones, cordless sets, soft clients on computers and personal devices such as tablets and smartphones. 
  • Personal cellular phones for university business for units and/or individuals who prefer this option. 

Together these options ensure that students, faculty, staff, and visitors have reliable telephone options in the buildings where they teach, learn, work, and live. ITS will continue to maintain planning, operations, maintenance, and funding responsibilities for the new service, and ensure it is able to meet changing technology advances.

Traditional voice systems are a mature technology with high adoption across campus. However, if the project is approved, we anticipate that the majority of phones on the Ann Arbor campus would be converted to VoIP or cellular by 2021.

U-M Data Centers

University managed data centers are designed to centrally host university research, teaching, clinical, and administrative data. ITS hosts two university managed data centers which use consistent loading, configuring, operating, monitoring, patching, security, backup, power management, and disposition standard in compliance with university data management policies and best practices. They include the:

  • Michigan Academic Computing Center (MACC) has 10,000 square feet and holds 250 racks of equipment. It also includes state of the art heating and cooling, low and high density areas, high level redundancy, 24/7 security, and advanced fire protection systems. This is a high-availability facility that hosts data and equipment for ITS, internal university units, external and university affiliates.
    For units that want additional ITS support for their servers and databases, we offer:
    • MiServer — a virtual server environment that allows units to choose:
      • Core Server options where the unit remains the system administrator, or
      • Managed Server options where ITS takes on the system administration tasks and the unit manages the applications. 
    • MiDatabase — a virtual server with managed database. Supported platforms include Microsoft, SQL, MySQL, and Oracle. ITS will monitor, patch, and backup databases and the unit manages data and applications.
  • Administrative Services Building Data Center has 2300 square feet and holds 56 racks of equipment. It has all of the same efficiency, reliability, and security features as the MACC, but hosts mostly ITS data from our university administrative systems.

University managed data centers are a mature technology. ITS and university executives recommend  that the university work to consolidate locally managed servers into centrally managed data centers over time to ensure all university research, teaching, clinical, and administrative data is properly secured and backed up to minimize risks for breaches or data loss. ITS will continue to watch the need for campus data centers and recommend additional capacity or facilities over time, if appropriate.

Videoconferencing (BlueJeans)

Videoconferencing is the ability to conduct simultaneous, two-way video and/or audio communications. ITS provides BlueJeans for video conferencing, a cloud-based, audio/video/content sharing conferencing service. BlueJeans supports multiple platforms, has high-resolution video (720p), high-resolution content sharing (1080p), live chat, the ability to record meetings, and end-to-end encryption for up to 100 endpoint connections.

To ensure the product works well for university teaching, learning, and research, we have:

  • Ensured it works across the community for academic, UMHS, and external partners
  • Negotiated a Business Associate Agreement for HIPAA-compliant Protected Health Information
  • Ensured it has research and education peering, and ENUM support
  • Integrated with our single sign-on authentication system, existing teleconference equipment, and the university telephone infrastructure

To further improve the service, we are working to:

  • Negotiate a data protection agreement
  • Partner with the vendor on accessibility enhancements and ADA compliance
  • Integrate open APIs  (e.g., Canvas and ServiceLink)
  • Provide a remote desktop control feature for user support
  • Generate one-time passwords via text messaging in the event of a network outage, emergency, or disaster recovery when single sign-on is unavailable

Videoconferencing is a maturing technology that we expects to move from moderate to high adoption over time.

VoIP Telephone Systems

ITS supports over 9000  standards based Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephones in units on all three campuses. VoIP service can support desk phones, cordless sets, soft clients on computers and personal devices such as tablets and smartphones. Individual, group, and engagement center VoIP services are available.

ITS has proposed a project to replace the traditional voice system and its aging switch-based technology with VoIP phones or use of personal cellular phones for university business, where desired. Throughout the university the number of landline phone calls is in decline, but the remaining calls are critical. Many faculty and staff expect the phone to work and provide a high quality connection for interviews, discussions about grants or development, and VoIP phones are the technology ITS intends to deploy for these purposes.

VoIP technology also assists the university in reaching a strategy objective of minimizing/eliminating legacy phone networks and relying on the data network for both computing and phone services. This reduces both operational and infrastructure costs over time.

VoIP is a growing technology with moderate adoption across campus. However, if the project is approved, ITS recommends that the majority of landline phones on the Ann Arbor campus would be converted to VoIP or cellular by 2021.

VPN/Remote Access

The University of Michigan’s Virtual Private Network extends the university’s private, secure, and managed network when using off campus networks. It enables individuals to send and receive university or personal data across shared or public networks through a dedicated and encrypted connections. 

ITS provides the Cisco VPN client for download on university or personal Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iPad, or iPhone devices. It is available to all university students, faculty, staff, and sponsored affiliates with a valid uniqname and Kerberos password. 

VPN is a recommended mature technology with moderate adoption across campus. ITS anticipates that campus will continue to require secure connections when teaching, learning, or working in off-campus locations.

White Spaces

White spaces allow network administrators to transport data on frequencies freed up by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when televisions moved from analog to digital signals. 

ITS is piloting the use of whitespaces as a potential networking solution for campus spaces that need secure network connectivity, but do not have wired connections. White spaces are being piloted at the Radrick Farms Golf Course, and ITS is currently monitoring network performance. If connections are proven to be reliable, white spaces could potentially:

  • Replace current high speed T-1 or low speed Digital Subscriber Line connections that connect off-campus university locations in Ann Arbor to campus and improve current bandwidth in these locations from 384Kbps to 10 Mbps.
  • Become part the university’s disaster recovery strategy for network outages, allowing campus to connect to data centers and other business critical information. 
  • Provide short or long-term connectivity to outdoor research and teaching locations.

White spaces also have the potential to save the university money if the technology replaces traditional DSL and T1 lines provided by external vendors. 

White spaces are still an emerging technology, and we expect the adoption at the university to be limited.

WiFi Calling

WiFi Calling is a feature provided by carriers that allows individuals to make phone calls and send text messages in locations where WiFi is available but cellular coverage is inadequate. 

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon provide this service today.

Individuals need to make minor configuration adjustments on their phone to activate WiFi calling. ITS provides links on our website to carrier instructions for configuring WiFi calling on mobile  devices and communicates with campus as each carrier enables this feature. Once enabled, cellular phones will automatically use WiFi calling when needed.

WiFi Calling is an emerging technology, but we expect the adoption rate to be high on campus.