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T1 backbone cures school growth pains.


Louisiana State University Medical Center went to full T1 to ease the pains of network growth. It paid.

Easy expansion and reconfigurable bandwidth are major benefits, says David Troendle, director of computer services.

The Center is part of an LSU system linking up campus data networks that are mostly located in the state.

The Center is linked to the Louisiana State Government network, Pennsylvania's Shared Medical Systems network, IBM Information Network, NSFnet, and BITNET. LSU users can access over 3000 outside computer centers worldwide.

The LSU Medical Center network connects 2500 devices, with 2000 on the SNA network and 500 users on Ethernet and token-ring LANs. During peak time there may be 1000 concurrent active user sessions under way.

Miscellaneous networks use the bandwidth, including the LSU Credit Union stat-mux network and the Auxiliary Enterprises network linking point-to-point processors at bookstores and other point-of-sale locations.

The LAN Boom

Says Bart Ponze, associate director of computer services, five reasons led the Center to install its own Racal-Milgo Omnimux 9000 T1 multiplexer backbone network.

* The original motivation was to speed data communications. With LAN use exploding statewide, greater capacity was mandatory. FT1 wouldn't work; it was too difficult to obtain services as the network needed them, particularly with 56-kb/s and intermediate speeds.

* Ther LAN boom put a premium on protocol independence to handle growth.

* Its own mux network gives LSU the flexibility to make network changes quickly and reliably without involving the telcos.

* T1 saves money and speeds response. T1 muxes eliminated the expense of piecemeal lines.

* The T1 network lets users isolate the SNA network from physical outages it might suffer on the public carrier.

Alternate routing is planned. Ponze envisions a redundant T1 system to solve problems such as cut cables.

"The most important thing is that we gained control over our own network," he says. "When we need to install a new location, the bandwidth is already available. That reduces planning cycle time. We don't have to worry about circuit order delay. Our network can do anything we neerd for the next several years."

T1 also solves the problem of finger-pointing.

"We used to get into arguments with the carrier about line problems," says Troendle. "Now that we can diagnose conditions, we can tell the telco what problems need to be fixed.

"We don't have to talk to any vendor in the dark now. When we call someone to fix a problem and they say it's not their fault, we can be specific.

"This ability has cut the time it takes to get a problem resolved. The time we n ow save on problem resolution ranges from a few hours to entire days."

To increase the reliability and availability of the T1 backbone, extensive diagnostics and sophisticated performance monitoring is done by Racal-Milgo's Omnimux ICSU (Intelligent Channel Service Unit) at each node.

Network operators can view CSU status as a glance or read performance statistics from more than a dozen 24-hour reggsters.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:fifth of seven articles on T1 communications, Louisiana State University
Publication:Communications News
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:Ups and downs of FT1.
Next Article:Marathon Oil ends line rasp.

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