Thursday, 12 March 2009

Brown Fibre

Today's session started with a talk by ex FBI Ed Gibson - Chief (cyber) Security Adviser for Microsoft. Very dramatic presentation emphasising the need to take security seriously - cyber crime is on the increase. His main message was install the updates - keep your operating system up to date. Good advice from Microsoft!

This was followed by an interesting case study from the University of Bath - it's always good to hear what other institutions are doing, especially the different ways problems are solved. Bath was faced with a situation where the Halls of Residence, which are based in a traffic-congested, world heritage site city, were connected to the University network by 10 MB leased lines. As internet traffic had increased - both by students using Web 2.0 technologies including video streaming, and more media rich course material being put on line - the lines couldn't cope. Students were complaining, and urgent action was needed.

Faced with the problems of big digs in the City (and there was a question as to whether they would even be permitted), Bath partnered with H2Onetworks who ran dark fibre through the City's sewers. It apparently quickly became known as brown fibre! 14 km of fibre was deployed in 5 months, with only a 200m dig. To get added value, VOIP and IPTV was also deployed, leading to huge rises in satisfaction levels from students.

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