Royal Holloway College

Network learning curve

Unlimited Bandwidth, dark fibre, WAN provision

Royal Holloway, University of London’s success in recruiting new students and staff has resulted in the need to review office space. The decision was taken to renovate an existing College-owned building about a kilometre from the main College campus, along a winding road. The majority of the administrative functions, including Finance and HR, would be housed here along with part of the Computer Centre including offsite data storage for the main campus.

The move would ease the space pressures on the campus but it entailed, for the IT people, the challenge of deciding how to link the two networks to keep everything seamless. R&D applications alone were calculated to need 10Gbps between the two sites within the easily foreseeable future. And to that the College needed to add the needs of general data, security CCTV transmissions and voice traffic.

Their thoughts were turning toward renting fibre optic based services but they called in Linchpin Networks to advise.

As consultants, we did the sums, looked at the terrain and found that it was both financially advantageous and operationally practical for them to have a fibre optic link of their own installed. It would have greater bandwidth potential easily acquired and eliminate any need to place reliance on operational standards outside the College’s control.

For this stage of our association with the College we left them with a fully prepared dossier on the requirement – multi-Gigabits/sec optical fibre cabling in ducting beneath the public road connecting the two sites and details of all specifications, licences and permissions required to install it.

From Plans to Action

To make the project completely transparent, that ended Linchpin’s consultancy role. Royal Holloway’s IT people put the specification out to tender and we were invited to respond on an equal footing with all other applicants. We were awarded the contract on that basis, regardless of what had gone before.

Linchpin obtained the consents needed for ducting under the public road, installed it and tested it connected to the two sites’ IT systems. The link provides enough fibre optic cable for the existing and forecast future needs, plus capacity to add more cable should – better perhaps to say when – it is needed. The link, therefore, has effectively unlimited broadband capacity, certainly unrestricted by any constraints a public service supplier might find it necessary to impose from time to time.