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Campus Connect: Improved infrastructure streamlines processes at LPU

June 29, 2011
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Lovely Professional University (LPU), a venture of the Lovely Group, has over 25,000 students and offers over 150 educational programmes. It has more than 25 international tie-ups with universities in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Brazil, Poland and Ghana.

LPU is also a member of various international bodies including the International Association of Universities in France, the Association of Commonwealth Universities in the UK, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs in the US, and the European Council of Business Education in Switzerland.

To manage the large inflow of students while keeping pace with the latest in technology, LPU took a number of measures to upgrade its communication infrastructure.

tele.net tracks the development of its telecom set-up...

Legacy system 

In its early days, the university used a small analog landline system and modem with a bandwidth of 64 kbps, which was adequate to meet the requirements of 30-40 people.

“In 2001, when optic fibre and other such technologies were unheard of, we were working on an analog backbone only. This system was used until 2005,” says Ashok Mittal, chancellor, LPU.

The shift 

In 2005, the institute decided to expand its telecom set-up. Mittal explains, “After 2005, there was a phenomenal growth in the number of students. Therefore, we had to set up various institutes. The communication structure had to be upgraded to cater to our growing needs. Also, since the distance between the buildings on the campus was substantial and an increasing amount of data was available online, there was an urgent need to upgrade the communicaitons infrastructure. We decided to completely overhaul our system, so that our communications backbone could increase productivity.”

Today, the university has a multi-tiered infrastructure in place. Its campus, spread over an area of 600 acres, is connected via an 11 km long optic fibre backbone. Nearly 30,000 users can access this network.

To begin with, LPU moved from the analog-based telephonic system to a PRI-based system, which enables digital quality calls. Dedicated leased lines were sourced from Bharti airtel and Reliance Communications, scaling up bandwidth from 64 kbps to 584 Mbps.

To ensure that data access is available anywhere and at any time, the university made use of wireless networks sourced from Cisco and Rukus. Over 750 access points were installed across the campus, enabling reliable and fast data transfer.

An enterprise resource planning solution was also deployed on more than 30 blade servers supplied by IBM and HP, with a core switch from Nortel.

For network security, LPU installed high-end firewalls provided by Juniper and Avaya. It also adopted a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based technology for streamlining its supply chain.

Challenges and benefits 

The institute encountered a few challenges while upgrading its infrastructure. According to Mittal, “The expectation was to develop a world-class communications infrastructure. However, a single system integrator was not available. Therefore, the challenge was to work with multiple people and ensure quality work from them.”

Of course, there were several benefits too. The upgraded infrastructure helped LPU shift 90 per cent of its procedures online. “With the new set-up, LPU has been able to bring down its manpower requirements as most of the processes take place online. Also, to an extent, setting up the huge infrastructure and moving to an online domain was more of a necessity rather than a luxury because of the requirements of the large number of students and staff (about 30,000 people) on its campus. We are happy to have taken this decision at the right time,” says Mittal.

LPU has its future telecom road map chalked out as well. It has recently started a distance education programme for which it plans to add new servers and VOIP. 

It has also decided to shift completely to an IP-based system, which will lead to higher reliability and speed of communication. A data recovery site will also be developed in the near future.

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