Case Studies:

Troy University Extends Ethernet Over DS3

Situation

Troy University in Troy, Alabama transports a wide array of applications over an extensive 13-node campus communications network that includes DS-3 links between microwave towers.

Applications include file sharing, video, interactive video conferencing, surveillance, remote control, broadcast audio, hybrid digital broadcast audio and internet access at remote sites.

When one of Troy’s remote campus sites connected by a DS-3 microwave link, the Dothan Campus, needed a television point of presence over Ethernet, it became apparent that the existing network connection didn’t provide enough Ethernet bandwidth to support full motion video.

Troy was using M13 multiplexer equipment combined with DS-1 “blades” in routers to transport 10/100 Ethernet over its DS-3 microwave links and the T1s limited bandwidth.

In looking at alternatives to provide more bandwidth to its remote sites, Troy had two basic goals. According to John Brunson, Chief Engineer for Video Conferencing Broadcast & Digital Network, these goals included:

  • Find a more efficient way to extend the Ethernet switch fabric through the microwave links
  • Deploy rugged, industrial grade hardware to withstand potential harsh environmental conditions at some microwave sites

Solution

Troy University opted to use industrial hardened versions of the JumboSwitch multiservice gigabit Ethernet platform with a combination of copper Ethernet and Ethernet over DS-3 interface cards.

Once the Ethernet over DS-3 link was deployed, the increase in avalible bandwidth was immediate. "We were able to increase the bandwidth to the Dothan Campus by a factor of 8 or 9," said John.

According to John, the JumboSwitch installation enabled additional benefits including:

  • Taking care of fewer pieces of equipment
  • Accessing the internet at remote sites to refer to technical manuals and perform software upgrades
  • Using Ethernet to do "a lot more" with surveillance, telecommunications and monitoring

Troy deployed JumboSwitches at 13 nodes in its local campus network. The JumboSwitch nodes were fitted with a total of 16 Ethernet-over-T3 and three 6-port copper Ethernet interface cards. The Ethernet cards were used for existing wired connections and the Ethernet-over-DS-3 Cards for the microwave links.

In summary, the JumboSwitch was an attractive solution for several reasons:

  • It significantly increased usable bandwidth
  • It allowed Troy to phase out its M13 muxes and Routers
  • It enabled Troy to deploy more applications
  • It didn’t require any additional build-outs to the communications infrastructure
  • It was compatible with existing legacy equipment
  • Its multiservice capability guaranteed expandability for future applications

John noted that Troy is pleased with the JumboSwitch solution. "The way I see it, the efficiency and relatively low cost of the JumboSwitch solution allowed us to make the education dollar go much farther," he said. "We certainly don’t have a million dollars to build out a new microwave network."

Future network plans include phasing out more M13 muxes and routers by transitioning remaining DS-3s to Ethernet. Troy also plans to add applications such as high definition broadcast video transport.

Application

Products Used:

  • TC3840 – Six 1U, six 2U, & one 4U Chassis
  • TC3841 – Three 6-port copper gigabit Ethernet Switch cards
  • TC3844 - Fourteen Ethernet over DS-3 Cards