The data network is the technical foundation for teaching, learning and research at the University of Michigan, and the U-M community depends on highly available wired and wireless networks to achieve the mission of the institution.


With that in mind, a major upgrade is underway to the university’s core network in the form of a $10.1 million project that kicked off in the fall and is scheduled to be completed in fiscal year 2022.

The project to upgrade the network will be led by Information & Technology Services in partnership with the Office of the Provost, Procurement Services, and unit IT and financial leadership across campus.

The project will reduce the four core communication hubs to two core communication hubs capable of connecting North and Central campuses to increase performance. This approach requires:

  • New fiber investments to connect campus buildings in the new design and eliminate all single points of failure. This should keep the university’s fiber architecture current for 30-50 years.
  • An electronics investment for the new network core. This should keep the network ahead of campus requirements for five to seven years.
  • An investment in heating, cooling and electrical for the two core communication hubs. This should keep the core communication hubs current for 10-20 years.

This project is expected to bring many benefits to the university community, such as supporting data-intensive science research requiring extensive bandwidth, increasing network speeds by up to 100 times, and the ability for core communication hubs to survive a power outage, improving the resiliency of the network and decreasing network complexity.

It is also expected to improve service and avoid costs for future electronics investments, position the university to take advantage of advances in electronics, software, speeds and pricing over time, and, if desired, permit U-M to consider future network integrations with other U-M campuses.

ITS is coordinating the Core Network Upgrade Project with other projects planned to enhance the network, such as increased fiber connectivity between campuses and the primary campus data center.

In addition to the work being planned for the core network upgrade, staff will work to replace distribution layer switches in campus buildings, as well as a build-out of increased capability at a North Campus telcom site.

Currently the project team is completing work on an electronics request for proposals, the build-out of fiber around the Ann Arbor campus, and HVAC in the data centers.