NGN project demonstrates remarkable progress

September 14, 2023

In 2019, President Salovey tasked Yale IT with converting aging network architecture across all Yale-owned buildings to the Next Generation Network (NGN). The goal was to complete this multiyear transition within six years. However, the project team has made remarkable progress and pace in recent months, with significant accomplishments and improvements documented in FY23.

What’s been completed?

In the first two months of this fiscal year alone, the NGN project team has transitioned 18 buildings—more than two-thirds of FY23’s total number and well ahead of its planned FY24 migration schedule. As of September 1, 2023, 113 buildings with 394 closets, and 4,259 wireless access points have achieved NGN-ready status on campus.

Of the 81 buildings in the Medical School, Athletic Fields, and Veteran Affairs campuses, all reached a 100% conversion rate by June 30, 2023. The project team migrated 325 closets and 2,086 wireless access points to accomplish this goal. On August 3, the NGN team celebrated the completion of the 100th building migration to NGN.

What work is currently underway?

The progression of NGN-compliant buildings across Yale campuses includes:

  • West Campus – 50% (11 of 22 buildings and 16 of 54 closets)
  • Science Hill – 16% (7 of 43 buildings and 38 of 167 closets)
  • Old Campus – 9% (5 of 56 buildings and 4 of 156 closets)
  • Hillhouse – 8% (4 of 52 buildings and 10 of 163 closets)
  • Science Park – 7% (1 of 15 buildings and 7 of 30 closets)
  • Cross Campus – 8% (4 of 51 buildings and 31 of 193 closets)

What’s upcoming?

Planned work for transitioning new buildings is fully underway. The September deployment schedule includes the three Wright Lab buildings in Science Hill, the Integrated Science and Technology Center, and the Molecular Innovation Center on the West Campus. Additionally, the project team has another 21 buildings in advanced preparatory stages for migration.

Upper Prospect and off-campus are also due to begin their phased transitions in FY24 and FY25.

Improvements and efficiencies

With each building transition, the NGN project team is learning and finding new ways to improve processes and workflows for this campus-wide network upgrade. Though there remain instances where wired migrations occur over several days, events that previously took 3-6 hours of deployment now only require 1-3 hours.

The wired migration at Vanderbilt Hall, the first residential building to transition to NGN capabilities, was performed in just over an hour. This summer, six other residential colleges and halls were completed, including Morse College, Ezra Stiles College, Henry Farnam Hall, Thomas Lawrance Hall, and Harmanus Welch Hall. Students can now enjoy the reliability and performance of the new NGN network.

The NGN team shared some insight into their processes. A Top-Down approach comprised of advanced planning, testing, and collaborative work with units IT support teams is critical to preparing each building before cutover. The Organizational Change Management (OCM) team identified building contacts and technical building leads at earlier stages of the migration. Deployment teams partnered with those individuals to locate and test equipment before the event. Additionally, the project team provided ample time for Project Managers to communicate with building and technical leads and address any questions or concerns that could delay planned work.

An FY23 building migration closeout survey showed that all respondents unanimously agreed that project communications were easy to understand and meaningful, impacted communities had complete confidence in project managers, and the NGN team was responsive and respectful of time.

On the recent changes, Louis Tiseo, Senior Director of Foundational Technology Services, said, “I am proud of the team and how they worked together over the past year to ensure we made significant progress in this important initiative. These improvements will help us better manage clients’ expectations and show our commitment to the university’s mission of safeguarding information for faculty, staff, and students.”

The team appreciates the support of an Executive Steering Committee, which provides strategic guidance and oversees its progress. NGN Day, celebrated earlier in June, with another occurrence planned for early next year, ensures team members can collaborate and workshop in person.

With the start of FY24, the NGN team continues to deliver on fulfilling the university’s mission of updating the network infrastructure at a rapid pace while providing a superior client experience.

Please visit the project website to learn more about NGN, see upcoming building migration dates, and follow its progress on campus.

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