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Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Chooses Meed Networks the largest fibre optics campus network in sub-sahara africa
Ahmadu Bello University

Located on a 7,000 hectare land which encompasses three campuses, twelve Faculties, a Postgraduate School and 82 academic

departments. Ahmadu Bello University with a student population of about 40,000 and 1,400 academic and research staff and over 6000 non-teaching staff in its employment.

The Need

ABU Zaria due to its huge staff and student population as well as its increasing demand for converged network services and bandwidth, employed the services of MEED Networks to build a campus Fiber Optic network.

The new infrastructure will enable ABU to deliver high-speed Internet and intranet access to its 40,000+ students and staff respectively in its campuses in Zaria, and will enable the university to facilitate e-learning, online applications and multimedia communication services for staff and students.

The Turnkey optic fibre based campus network, linking the three major campuses Shika, Samaru and Kongo on an intercampus 10GB scalable backbone with 65+ locations having a minimum of 2GB uplink connectivity comprising of the faculties, halls of residence, digital laboratories and libraries.

ABU Fiber optic campus networks infrastructure addresses the following key issues:

a. Reliability: The University needed to have a campus infrastructure that could be relied upon across its 3 campus sites. Having gone through the turbulences and disadvantages that exist with the deployment of a radio backbone, ABU decided to completely overhaul that infrastructure for a better one.

 

b. Redundancy: Considering the number of faculties, departments and colleges which ultimately span into large building sites all across the over 35km stretch of land which the campuses cover, ABU required as a matter of necessity to have redundant protocols which keep the campus infrastructure up and running even in the cause of a failure.

 

c. Increased Bandwidth: ABU's drive to ensure academic excellence via technology has brought about the introduction of network services such as triple play (voice, video and data) transmission all across its campuses. This need on its own has toppled the demand for network bandwidth by the day, and this becomes a critical factor for the university's new campus.

 

d. Network Convergence: Following the adoption of new technologies, E-learning, and also moving the normal educational activities to a network driven service campus, it became quite paramount that the new campus infrastructure should be one that converges all the required information at the least possible time.

Our Response

Having received our customer's requirements (ABU) , we at MEED sat down across board to build a solution that perfectly solved ABU's issues while also bringing additional services to the campus environment.

 

Our solution was to build a scalable campus network, having each services zoned off as components, while providing a huge backbone infrastructure having increased bandwidth, network convergence, reliability and redundancy as its key focus. Our solution is highly scalable in that, each additional service or expansion that is required can be added as a module without having to affect the entire infrastructure.

 

In achieving this, we went with Cisco Technologies whose advancements in the world of networking and IP Communications has proven to be world-class over the years.

Using their Cisco 6500 Switch series with switching capability of up to 1.44Terabytes per second, over 10GB fiber-optic connectivity to each of the main campus sites, we were able to create a full-proof core  infrastructure.

 

Also combining the various high capacity Campus Switches (such as Cisco 3750s and also the 2960s), we were also able to ensure a minimum uplink apacity of 2GB between each of the internal sites. Some sites had as large as 8GB due to the amount of traffic expected from those regions.

As additional services also, Network Management and monitoring was also factored in using Cisco's ACS Server appliance, as well as Security Firewalls to ensure protection of the Campus all-round.

This indeed is a land breaking project in terms of academic adoption of technology in Africa and we at MEED Networks are proud to have been a part of it.

 

Today, ABU’s campus backbone network is viewed as the technology foundation for all campus endeavors, supporting teaching, learning, research, administration, and community outreach" Said the Vice Chancellor Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha

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