University of San Carlos

2500+ Employees
Networking

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Students noticed very quickly how much faster the network is. Things like watching videos and collaborating on projects are so much easier.

– Winston Cordova, Engineer, Network Specialist, University of San Carlos

Benefits

Enhanced Collaboration
Increased Productivity
Network Scalability

BETTER BY DEGREES

Leading Philippines university enjoys transformed network performance with Avaya

The University of San Carlos (USC), situated in Metro Cebu, is one of the top ten universities in the Philippines. Its history dates back to 1595, when a school was founded by Jesuit priests. Today, it has over 40,000 students – almost a quarter of whom come from outside the Philippines – and offers 80+ undergraduate and graduate programs.
 
But while the University was thriving, its network, built up over time and using technology from multiple providers, was grinding to a halt. Speeds were poor; reliability worse. “With a backbone of only 1Gb, we had regular problems with network congestion,” recalls USC network specialist Engr. Winston Cordova. “Packet and data collision was common, and applications ran slowly. We couldn’t really use highbandwidth tools like video.”
 
The problems didn’t just affect staff and students; there were also significant management issues. “The network topology was not ideal,” Engr. Winston explains. “We didn’t have consistent visual monitoring of the network, so when there was a problem we essentially had to guess where it was which leads to trial and error type of troubleshooting”.
 

Since the University of San Carlos chose to standardize on Avaya networking technology, it has been able to offer students and staff 1Gb connectivity to the desktop – enhancing virtual learning and transforming the user experience. Overall network availability has already increased from around 60% to over 90%, and once the full overhaul is complete, 100% uptime is expected.
 
Challenges
 
Revitalize the university’s network – tackling sluggish speeds, frequent congestion and regular downtime. Replace a mixed legacy platform with Avaya core and edge technologies.
 
Value Created
  • 10Gb fiber across the campuses; 1Gb connectivity to the desktop
  • Much richer and more reliable user experience for staff and students
  • Greater ability to use high-bandwidth apps like virtual learning
  • Virtual separation for voice and video, ensuring no gaps in calls
  • Enhanced security and vastly improved network management
  • Availability increased from ca. 60% to over 90%
  • Platform for BYOD over WLAN
 

University of San Carlos

Choosing Avaya

USC was determined to remain at the forefront of contemporary education, so realized its network needed a refresh. It tasked Rhea and her team with devising a way to upgrade the infrastructure, both to meet student and staff requirements today and future-proof it for tomorrow. The one restriction on the choice was that it should make as much use as possible of the existing assets.
 
USC, IRM-TNS & HDS under the management of Rhea and her team evaluated the offers of a number of providers – in particular those whose equipment was already in place within the USC network – but quickly came to the decision Avaya was the right partner. “Choosing Avaya meant we maximized our existing investment,” he confirms. “The price performance ratio was very good, and importantly Avaya also offered us the most choice about what we wanted to install.”
 
To minimize disruption to users, the team worked with Avaya to develop a comprehensive implementation plan, starting with a WAN upgrade, before adding Avaya Secure Routers on each campus. Next came the core switches, which were upgraded to Ethernet Routing Switch 5600 Series in the data center and ERS4000 series at the main hubs. A fiber upgrade followed, increasing the previous 1Gb to 10Gb, and finally the edge network was configured.
 
“The full implementation took some time,” Engr. Winston acknowledges, “but in total there was only three days of downtime as a result – during the Christmas break.”
 

“Choosing Avaya meant we maximized our existing investment. The price performance ratio was very good, and importantly Avaya also offered us the most choice about what we wanted to install.”
 
– Ms. Rhea Rowena B. Rivera, Head, IRM-TNS & HDS, University of San Carlos
 

Improved user experience

Users felt the benefit long before the installation was completed. Though traffic is high almost every day, there were some well-known peaks in volumes such as around enrolment and exams (mid-terms and finals.) “Students noticed very quickly how much faster the network was,” Engr. Winston grins. “It meant that things like watching videos and collaborating on projects was so much easier.”
 
With higher capacity available, USC introduced a new video solution, Avaya Scopia XT, to enhance remote learning – and this too had an immediate impact. “We have lots of students who join our ‘virtual classrooms’, including some from other universities. They had previously relied on public conferencing software, and so when they saw the quality of Scopia they were amazed.” Of course, Engr. Winston adds, “the lecturers were very happy too!”
 
The improved infrastructure also allowed USC to replace two old PBXs with Avaya IP Office 500, and apart from enhanced Voice over IP quality, the new solution offers a range of valuable collaboration features. “Tools like ad hoc voice conferencing and call forwarding are really popular,” Engr. Winston confirms.
 

“Students noticed very quickly how much faster the network was. It meant that things like watching videos and collaborating on projects was so much easier.”
 
- Winston Cordova, Engineer, Network Specialist, University of San Carlos
 

Reliability revolution

Of course, all of these new features and tools can only deliver their full benefits if the network itself is available – and this is where the biggest difference of all has been seen.
 
“On our old network, we experienced around 40% downtime,” Engr. Winston shudders.
 
“Now, availability is over 90% – and we anticipate getting up to 100% once some of the final components are in place.” Some of that simply reflects the greater reliability of the new switches and technologies, but as Engr. Winston explains, the addition of Avaya Configuration and Orchestration Manager has also played a vital part.
 
“Avaya Configuration and Orchestration Manager has transformed the way we can configure and monitor the network. We used it to help streamline the network topology and remove single points of failure, and use it on an ongoing basis to accelerate configuration. But best of all, it gives us a clear visual representation of the network so troubleshooting is so much faster – even on old components. Whereas before I’d spend my time searching across campus to find the root cause of a fault, now I can sit at my desk and wait for things to happen!”
 

“Avaya Configuration and Orchestration Manager has transformed the way we can configure and monitor the network. It gives us a clear visual representation of the network so troubleshooting is so much faster – even on old components.”
 
- Winston Cordova, Engineer, Network Specialist, University of San Carlos

The next steps

It’s not quite that simple, of course, as Engr. Winston is already working on the next addition to the USC infrastructure: a higher capacity campus-wide Wi-Fi network that will allow staff and students to “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).” USC has purchased over 120 indoor and outdoor Wireless LAN 9100 access points and implementation will begin shortly. It’s all part of ensuring the user experience is consistent, and that students and lecturers alike can benefit from the latest technology from teaching and learning tools to online resources – helping them to engage more effectively with one another in the pursuit of enhanced academic achievements. With Avaya as its partner, USC is confident that even as traffic levels increase, its network infrastructure won’t be a barrier to learning.
 

Applications, systems and services

  • Avaya Ethernet Routing Switch 5600
  • Avaya Ethernet Routing Switch 4000
  • Secure Router 4134
  • Avaya Scopia® XT
  • Avaya IP Office™ 500
  • Wireless LAN 9100
  • Avaya Configuration and Orchestration Manager

Overall network availability has already increased from around 60% to over 90%, and once the full overhaul is complete, 100% uptime is expected.

CUSTOMER PROFILE
University of San Carlos Logo
  • Headquarters:

  • Philippines

The University of San Carlos is one of the top ten universities in the Philippines and one of the largest outside Manila. It is based in Metro Cebu, the business and tourist hub of the southern Philippines and its history dates back as far as 1595. Today it has four campuses housing eight colleges and 27 departments – and over 40,000 students. http://usc.edu.ph

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