The intent of this document is to describe data network services provided by the Office of Information
Technology’s (OIT) Network and Telecommunication Services (NTS) unit, define boundaries of the
service, and identify levels of services customers should expect.
NTS provides network services to thousands of customers and locations on campus. These services
connect individuals and units to the Internet and to local network resources at the University.
Availability of network services is critical to operations throughout the University.
Definition of Services Provided
Twin Cities Campus Network service – http://www.oit.umn.edu/network/
The University of Minnesota’s Gopher GigaNet (GGN) supports over 70,000 Gigabit capable Ethernet
network jacks. Internet 1 and Internet 2 connectivity is received via the Northern Lights GigaPoP (please
see description below).
The network system is comprised of 21 Cisco 6509 routers linked together via a mesh of 10-Gigabit
interconnections and nearly 4000 Cisco Catalyst 3750 stackable Ethernet switches. Switches are
connected to the core using a minimum of 2 Gigabits of bandwidth when possible. A small handful of
on-campus locations and most off-campus locations connect at speeds of 1-Gigabit or less due to
The GGN architectural diagram can be found here:
Data Center Network Services
For applications that require high network availability, NTS has deployed a high availability data center
component for the GGN. The Data Center is designed with redundant routers, Ethernet switches,
firewalls, support servers, and links so that in the event of a primary network element failure,
networking services keep on running.
Network Address Management
IP Addressing and Domain Name Services (DNS) are provided to the GGN by a highly redundant and
load-capable system. Each of our 17 core service locations have a DNS server with all servers acting as
backup to each other in the event of a general failure. If, for some reason, a core location is separated
from the rest of the network, the local DNS server will handle all requests for the partitioned area.
IP Address assignment is self service via our Service Gateway product. For more information on self-
service please see the Service Statement for Service Gateway.
Office of Information Technology – University of Minnesota 1
Virtual Private Network - http://vpn.umn.edu/
NTS provides a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that allows approved University students, staff,
and faculty a secure method to access services that reside within the University’s network, and the
network itself, from remote or unsecure locations.
Wireless - http://www1.umn.edu/wireless/
NTS is performing an upgrade to the existing University WIFI network. When the upgrade is complete
we will have installed a new WIFI system supporting 802.11a, b, g and n. The new system will have
redundant components located in each core location to ensure that Wireless continues to work in a
NTS will be supporting all wireless internet access on campus using two primary Service Set Identifiers
(SSIDs). One SSID will support open, unsecure access and the second will support highly secure network
access using WPA2 and 802.1x.
Guests to campus may use the "UofM Guest" SSID at no charge
(http://www1.umn.edu/wireless/information/access/index.html). This SSID offers no encryption and is
limited in bandwidth and capacity.
A Simple SSID is also available for devices that cannot log into the network (e.g., projectors). Note that
devices must be registered to use the Simple SSID.
GigaPoP and Peering
Northern Lights GigaPoP (gigabit point of presence – an access point to the Internet2 network) is an
advanced regional networking initiative operated by the University. The mission of Northern Lights is the
deployment of emerging applications and technologies to provide high performance networking for the
research and education community. Organizations eligible to participate in Northern Lights generally
include colleges, universities, and other educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and others
that routinely collaborate with the research and education community on instructional, clinical, and
research projects and services. For more detailed information: http://www.northernlights.gigapop.net.
The Broadband Optical Research, Education, and Sciences (BOREAS) Network, a collaboration of four
major research institutions in the upper Midwest: Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the
University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. BOREAS intends to build and operate
a Regional Optical Network (RON) to service the advanced production and experimental network
requirements of the research and education institutions in our region. High-speed optical network
capability is essential for our researchers to move vast amounts of research data between researchers
worldwide and to engage in collaborative research activities with peer institutions and national
laboratories. This capability is also necessary for our institutions to compete effectively for research
funding. Our universities also believe that BOREAS capability is needed for us to be able to recruit and
retain top research faculty.
Coordinate Campus and Off-Campus Network Connections
NTS provides network connectivity to coordinate campus locations (U of M Duluth, Morris, Crookston,
and Rochester) and other locations (Extension services and Research Outreach Centers). Connectivity is
achieved through a partnership with the State of Minnesota.
Office of Information Technology – University of Minnesota 2
Local offsite buildings are supported by individual contracts for fiber, T1 (1.5mbps) or cable modem
connectivity depending on location and cost considerations.
The University campus network is connected to the Internet over several high-speed data
communication lines. This close relationship brings obvious benefits in terms of speed and access, but it
also exposes the University network to many viruses and security threats. Many computer owners or
administrators have installed anti-virus, anti-spyware, and personal firewalls on departmental
computers to help mitigate these threats; others have not installed any security tools. Security
vulnerabilities are reduced when a firewall is employed to protect a network. However, firewalls do not
replace the need for host security; they are only an additional layer of defense. NTS supports and has
deployed centralized firewall services in each core location. NTS maintains and operates these services
as a critical component of the infrastructure.
The University network was not designed to support Fire, Life, or safety infrastructure or applications.
To do so was too costly. The Gopher GigaNet (GGN) was designed to support critical business
applications, basic connectivity, and to support research.
Customers expect, and NTS strives for, 100 percent uptime with no service interruptions. However, this
is currently not a reasonable expectation for the University campus. NTS has protected the core routers,
data center routers, data center Etherswitches, firewalls, wireless controllers, address management
servers, GigaPoP, and Boreas with Uninterruptible Power Supplies and built in as much redundancy and
over-sizing as allowed by budgetary constraints. What we have not been able to protect against are
building-specific power and cooling issues, due to high costs and aging buildings.
On occasion NTS needs to schedule downtime for maintenance activities, like upgrading software and
replacing failed components. Due to the large size of the GGN, some maintenance activities are
scheduled over many days to allow for issues as they arise.
Hours of Operation
It is the goal of NTS to provide network services 24x7x52. System status is available at:
Performance Measurement Description
Office of Information Technology – University of Minnesota 3
Service Delivery Performance
NTS response and resolution Maximum amount of time before response is made to a service request
times Maximum amount of time before a request is resolved
Severity Response Time Resolution Goal
Standard severity-level definitions for service interruptions are being developed by OIT
Disaster Recovery Services
Scheduled maintenance periods allow the NTS staff to perform routine maintenance and perform
upgrades. Redundancies built into the network will ensure availability of network services during
scheduled maintenance periods.
When maintenance is required, e-mail is sent to the Net-ops mailing list two weeks prior to the
maintenance period. The announcement will include start time, anticipated end time, and a description
of the maintenance to be performed (upgrades, patches, etc.).
Network services are dependent upon power and environmental (heating and cooling) systems. The
availability of those systems will have a direct impact on the availability of these services.
Service Dependency on Service Service Provider
Power There must be power to networking equipment in OIT data Network &
centers and buildings throughout campus Telecommunications/Facilities
Environment There must a room temperature environment for Network &
networking equipment in OIT data centers and buildings Telecommunications/Facilities
throughout campus Management
Internet There must be a functioning connection through providers Time Warner, Qwest
Provider to connect to Internet resources
Service Provider and Customer Responsibilities
Network and Telecommunications Services (NTS) is a large service unit within OIT that is responsible for
operating, monitoring, maintaining, and repairing all aspects of the data network.
Office of Information Technology – University of Minnesota 4
OIT Duties and Responsibilities
NTS staff provides support to IT staff in local units in addition to the support offered by the University’s
1-HELP service. NTS consults with units about data networking needs and is available to help plan and
implement specialized data network configurations. NTS communicates regularly with customers about
network services via the NET-OPS and NET-PEOPLE mailing lists. NTS also participates regularly in
monthly Net People meetings group at which issues related to the various services are reported and
NTS will be expected to:
Communicate and coordinate with IT staff in local units to minimize disruption to end users.
Notify customers about all scheduled maintenance
Meet response and resolution times associated with service-related incidents
Generate and make available monthly service level reports
Customer Duties and Responsibilities:
Adhere to any related policies, processes, and procedures
Report problems using reporting procedures described in this service statement
Provide input on the quality and timeliness of service
Fund larger projects and special requests
The status of University systems is available online at: http://systemstatus.umn.edu. Whenever
possible, users are encouraged to check the System Status page before contacting technical support.
Users are strongly encouraged to first contact technical support resources in their local unit if they are
experiencing problems with computers or applications. Local technical staff will be able to resolve many
problems or escalate them to the appropriate levels, helping to increase the speed and effectiveness of
the service response. Response time is dependent on the local unit’s technical support processes and
If local technical support resources do not exist or are not available (e.g., outside of normal work hours)
users are encouraged to contact the University’s 1-HELP service (http://www.oit.umn.edu/help):
On-campus – 1-HELP (1-4357)
Off-campus – (612) 301-HELP (4357)
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
1-HELP hours are found at:
Hours as of May 2009:
Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Outside of these hours, or on University holidays, callers may leave a message, which will be responded
to the following business day.
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1-HELP will escalate incidents, when necessary, to appropriate service providers. All incidents and
changes reported to 1-HELP will be logged into Service Center, a tracking system.
The data network is among the University’s critical services. In the event of a disaster, recovering
network services is at the highest level of importance. Redundancies and auto fail-over capabilities are
built into the networking system to minimize outages and to ensure that service is restored as quickly as
possible in the event of a disaster. The highly distributed nature of the network helps to lessen the
impact of many failures. Degraded or failed service receives immediate attention, and all available
resources are brought into force to recover full operations.
The operational status of the service will be available via the System Status Web page. Planned updates
and maintenance will be announced ten business days in advance via the NET-OPS and NET-PEOPLE
mailing lists. Operational and support statistics will be reported monthly.
Planned Service Interruptions
NTS performs repair and maintenance activities. Many are not service impacting, however, upgrades are
generally scheduled for early mornings when traffic is low and systems can be evaluated. Data Center
upgrades typically are scheduled for Sunday mornings when possible.
For scheduled upgrades NTS tests new software releases and features on test systems prior to
implementing on the production systems.
Upgrades and maintenance activities typically are scheduled and announced two weeks in advance.
Service and emergency repairs will be acted on quickly and appropriately. In the event of unexpected
service interruption, OIT will update the System Status page and send notification of service interruption
to the NET-OPS and OIT-OUTG mailing lists within 15 minutes of service-loss identification. The NET-OPS
and NET-PEOPLE mailing lists will be used to communicate interruptions. Status updates will be provided
on an hourly basis to both the System Status page and subscribed individuals. A post-mortem analysis
will be released 24 hours after the resolution of the interruption.
University of Minnesota Information Technology policies are available on the web at:
Polices related to this statement include:
Network policies are available on the web at:
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Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
User Authentication for Access to University Computer Resources
Service Statement Maintenance
This statement of service will be reviewed annually.
Last revision: May 2009
File Name: Data Network.doc
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