The Federal University of Alagoas Adds Stability and Management to its Network

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Introduction

The Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL) is headquartered in Maceió, Alagoas State, and was founded on January 25, 1961. The institution has 22 academic departments and 87 graduate courses for handling its approximately 30 thousand students. UFAL is placed 43rd in the national ranking of Brazilian universities.

Modernizing to increase productivity

The Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL) is the main public higher education institution in the state of Alagoas. Its more than 30 thousand students are enrolled in 87 courses offered in 22 academic units. With its obsolete, complex network infrastructure with no management, UFAL’s administration of its assets fell quite short of what would be considered appropriate.

At the time, according to the university’s networks and infrastructure coordinator Francisco Bruno, modernizing the network was essential to protect the institution’s data, and expand storage capacity and productivity to serve all of its users. “We had a very complex network, with no management, and maintenance work was manual, which resulted in high downtime, for example”, says the executive.

Extreme deployed innovation with switches in the obsolete network

In order to quickly reverse the situation, UFAL launched a tender to modernize its IT network. The university’s intention was to first ensure greater stability for the data network and, in a second step, to create a network management to enable the institution’s assets to be administrated remotely. From there, the goal was to reduce downtime (the time the network or part of it remains inactive because of unexpected problems), maintenance, or old data archiving.

Extreme Networks, the winning bidder, immediately replaced the obsolete, complex network with no management with a project combining rack-top switches, edge switches, wireless signal access controllers, and integrated network management, as well as a Black Diamond switch at the data center.

Stability and management ensure better productivity

UFAL invested R$ 9 million in remodeling its IT network. As a result of the project initiated by Extreme Networks in late 2012, the institution now has a network that is 100% monitored in real time and active 95% of the time, providing higher- performance communications and user experience, and enabling the implementation of communication programs geared to improving learning.

These programs include implementing a VoIP network as well as Wi-Fi coverage on the campus, which provided the public institution’s different audiences – students, teachers, researchers, etc – access to the wireless network. In the two years following the completion of the implementation, UFAL increased the number of users connected to its Wi-Fi network by 250%.

The institution will now proceed to new stages of the IT infrastructure modernization plan. According to the Extreme Networks Sales Manager in the Northeast Helder Farias, the person responsible for the UFAL account, the next proposed steps are to improve the network’s security and unified control, and to improve real-time management. “Solutions such as NAC/BYOD (security), Purview (application analysis) and the unified management (NetSight) of that environment would enable the university to anticipate likely problems caused by unauthorized (or not controlled) access to the network”, Farias explained.

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