In 1995, the project that would form the core of the campus data network was begun. Since the completion of this project, which brought 2,400 computers in 30 buildings on line, the network has grown in size, redundancy, and complexity.
In 1998, the campus connection to the Internet was 1.544 Mbps. It has grown steadily as need arose to an aggregate bandwidth of 1Gbps. Our bandwidth is dynamically allocated to the academic / administrative networks, the residence halls, and Greek Row. An additional 100 Mbps circuit is for direct Internet2 access.
The original backbone design focused on a switched network interconnected by an FDDI ring. The second-generation design incorporated three routers interconnected via 100 Mb fiber Ethernet links, and all new building networks were connected to these routers. Existing networks were also migrated to these routers, moving away from a Layer 2 switched topology to a Layer 3 (routed) one. In 2001, the backbone between the routers was upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet. The core routers were replaced in 2008 and the backbone was upgraded to 10 Gbps in 2010. The core was upgraded and expanded in 2014 to four routers in a Virtual Switch Bonding (VSB) configuration, with an 40Gbps backbone.
Originally computers were attached to the campus backbone via 10 Mb Ethernet hubs; this meant that one user had to share 10 Mb of bandwidth with many other users. Today, the campus standard is 100 Mb switched Ethernet to the desktop, providing a full 100 Mb dedicated connection to the campus data network. In certain areas where traffic demands are greater, 1000 Mbps (Gigabit) connections are installed. MTSU has over 18,000 activated data ports, including over 3,500 in the residence halls and Greek Row.
MTSU has an extensive wireless network that covers most lounges, eateries, and classroom buildings. This network is constantly being upgraded and expanded. In 2014, a complete end-to-end upgrade was performed for all residence halls, providing highly redundant, high speed wireless connectivity for studentsa residing on campus. The wireless network is currently in its' "third generation" with support for 802.11n. The wireless network operates as a collective instead of independently, allowing for advanced performance tuning and rogue detection. There are nearly 1000 wireless access points in operation.
The network extends beyond the campus boundaries to serve satellite sites with access comparable to being on the campus itself. This allows offices and organizations to remain virtually connected even when the physical location is miles away from the main campus.