Computer News No. 110 July-Aug. 2004
Enhancement of the University's
Campus Network Infrastructure
In this summer, we initiated a number of projects to enhance the functionalities
of the campus network infrastructure. What follows is a highlight
of the projects:
IEEE 802.11g wireless LAN in centrally administered classrooms
and 802.11b wireless LAN in student halls
Faster network links for Ricci Hall and University Hall
Upgrade of network hubs in student residential halls
Intrusion detection and prevention at Internet gateway
Unified procedure for access to ACEnet, Wireless LAN and
Optical network linking Sassoon Road Campus and the Main
1. IEEE 802.11g wireless LAN in centrally administered
classrooms and 802.11b wireless LAN in student halls
Over 500 wireless LAN (WLAN) access points of the IEEE 802.11b standard
have been deployed all over the University campus since year 2000.
The new WLAN industry standard IEEE 802.11g , supporting a connection bandwidth
of 54Mbps (vs 11Mbps of 802.11b) and backward compatible with 802.11b,
was ratified in mid-2003. With the recent improvement in the price-performance
ratio of 802.11g products, we have initiated our first deployment of 802.11g
WLAN service in 35 centrally-administered classrooms this summer.
The 802.11b access points replaced in this exercise will be re-deployed
to the common rooms of student halls.
More information can be found in the article "IEEE
802.11g Wireless LAN in Centrally Administered Classrooms" in this
issue of the Computer News.
2. Faster network links for Ricci Hall and University
Since 1997, Ricci Hall and University Hall have been linked up with the
main campus network via T1 (1.5Mbps) framelink connections. Faster
and more cost-effective solutions of providing these two off-campus student
residential halls with network services are now being pursued. For
Ricci Hall, the campus Gigabit Ethernet (GE) backbone is being extended
from the nearby Starr Hall, thus furnishing the hall with an 1Gbps uplink
to the main campus network. Builder's work (such as construction
of trunking and conduits between Ricci Hall and Starr Hall) is being carried
out and optical fibre installation will follow. It is anticipated
that the GE link will come into production by end of September.
At University Hall, a fixed-wireless broadband system will be installed
on the roof-top so that a direct network connection can be established
with the Faculty of Medicine Building at Sassoon Rd. The fixed-wireless
system can operate at 18Mbps and contains resilience features. As
University Hall is a declared historical building of the HKSAR, we are
currently working closely with the Estates Office to obtain permission
of carrying out alteration work from the Antiquities and Monuments Office.
It is expected that the wireless link can come into operation also by end
3. Upgrade of network hubs in student residential halls
In the summer of 2002, we upgraded about 150 Ethernet network hubs to autosensing
10/100Mbps network switches in student halls. This year, we will
upgrade the remaining 30 Ethernet hubs in student halls. When the
replacement is completed, which is expected to be near the end of September,
the hall residents can enjoy the use of a faster hall network.
4. Intrusion detection and prevention at Internet gateway
We are strengthening the security of the campus network by way of enhancing
the real-time protection of the campus network against network intrusion
and attacks (which may include computer viruses, worms, and Trojan
horses). To this end, we have deployed a pair of intrusion detection
and prevention (IDP) devices at the Internet gateway to block the common
attacks from the Internet before they could wreak havoc with the campus
network. The IDP devices determine an intrusion by using multiple,
state-of-the-art methods of detection. We are now in the process
of tuning up the IDP system so as to render the best possible protection
to the campus network.
5. Unified procedure for accessing ACEnet, Wireless
LAN and Hall Network
Starting from May 2003, PCs in the Hall Network (HallNet) can access the
commonly used network services, such as email, WWW and ICQ within the campus
network of the University, without going through the HKUVPN authentication
procedure. This enables HallNet users to take advantage of the
high-speed intra-campus network for communication, while ensuring a fair
share of Internet bandwidth usage among the many users of the University.
Starting from 1 September this year, we would extend the same scheme
to ACEnet and Wireless LAN users, so that it will bring about further flexibility
and convenience to our users. More information is given in the article
"A Unified Procedure for Accessing ACEnet,
Wireless LAN and Hall Network" in this issue of Computer News.
6. Optical network linking Sassoon Road Campus and the
To meet the high demand for bandwidth and to improve the network security
management of the Sassoon Road campus, we are working on a new solution
to support separate and faster connections for linking the departments
and student halls in the Sassoon Road campus to the main campus, instead
of mixing and transmitting the network traffic among them through a single
Fast Ethernet (100Mbps) wide area connection. The new solution being
implemented is an optical network that uses the Wavelength Division Multiplexing
(WDM) technology. When this project is completed, two dedicated Gigabit
Ethernet (GE) links will be supported for connecting the departments and
student halls on Sassoon Road to the main campus.
We expect to see the new optical network up and running by end of October.