Industries with intense human-centric activities such as education and healthcare are at the forefront of creating modern, connected facilities that improve the human experience, safety, and productivity. Light, heat, ergonomics, technology accessibility, and other comfort and security-focused solutions are driving the implementation of smart building technologies and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT). The use of these technologies and their integration and available data is forever changing how we plan, design, build, and upgrade facilities.
Dartmouth College will be celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2019. Preserving their campus buildings and open spaces coupled with creating an innovative campus for their staff and students is part of their five to ten-year plan. As the facility and technology leaders at the College started to learn more about and implement new building, lighting, and information technologies, they quickly surmised that IoT and other emerging technologies would have a direct impact on their network infrastructure. There are over 200 buildings on the 269-acre campus, and they vary in age from the Wentworth and Thorton Halls built in the 1820s to ongoing new building construction. They quickly recognized the demands on their network for reliable connectivity and smart building technologies were consistent across all stakeholder groups, and they needed a more strategic plan.
They were also upgrading one or two buildings per year with a horizontal cabling infrastructure that could support IoT. However, they realized that with over 200 buildings on campus, upgrading one to two buildings per year would not allow them to keep pace with their need to adopt emerging technologies and IoT. Student learning, student experience, campus safety, energy-efficiency, and sustainability initiatives were also important factors to consider as they set forth to think and plan strategically to create an industry-leading campus encompassing modern, connected facilities.
To evaluate their network’s readiness to support the rapid increase in traffic demands, Dartmouth College selected Leading Edge Design Group to review its existing network infrastructure on campus.
LEDG was tasked with identifying reliability risks and developing a plan for Dartmouth to make critical strategic initiatives required to ensure the campus network could sustain its expected growth over the next ten years. The assessment included the gathering, interviewing, and analysis of the following:
- Existing facility drawings and as-built documentation of the optical backbone infrastructure on campus and the horizontal cabling infrastructure within each building.
- Detailed site evaluation of the existing backbone infrastructure and in-building wiring supporting academic, residential, and research facilities.
- Evaluation of existing infrastructure’s capacity to support high-density network demands of IoT.
- Extensive stakeholder interviews with users of Dartmouth College network services to understand how they leverage the network and how they expect to increase their usage in the coming years.
- Industry benchmarking data and best practices for design, reliability, capacity, and scalability.
The master plan and suggested upgrades provided Dartmouth College facilities, information technology, and network leaders with a strategy and holistic framework they could begin to implement immediately to support the evolving needs of Dartmouth College as a global institution.