Virginia Commonwealth University

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Network Services

The VCU network is the foundation of the University's technology services. The University has built a high capacity network that connects the Monroe Park Campus, the MCV Campus and the VCU Computer Center in downtown Richmond. The network backbone has the capacity of 10 Gbps (gigabits per second) and connects all of the core and distribution routers. All routers have dual paths and are meshed to provide redundancy and failover capabilities. In addition, the primary network router is replicated between the VCU Computer Center and a secondary computer center in Harris Hall on the Monroe Park Campus allowing rapid failover in the event of major failure of the primary system.

VCU has two independent connections for the internet, one through the VCU Computer Center and one through Harris Hall, with different vendors and different paths out of Richmond totaling 3.5 Gbps of capacity. These dual paths provide redundancy and disaster recovery capacity to maintain internet access during a major emergency event. VCU also has a 10 Gbps fiber link to Northern Virginia for its connections to Internet2.

Within the two campuses, buildings are connected to the backbone at 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps speeds. The University has a multiphase project underway to increase speeds to 1 Gbps to each network port from the current 10 or 100 Mbps.

VCU has extensive wireless coverage across University building and outdoor spaces. The 1,617 wireless access points serve approximately 75% of University spaces. However, close to 99% of student areas are covered including classrooms, residence halls, student commons and libraries. VCU runs two wireless networks: 1. SafeNet for students, faculty and staff which is encrypted and requires authentication, and 2. VCUGuest Wireless, an open, unencrypted network for visitors and other short-term needs.

The 12 student residence halls on both campuses have extensive networking. There is a wired port for each bed space. In addition, each residence hall is covered entirely by the wireless network. 

This article was updated: 02/4/2014