University of Wisconsin–Madison
Aerial photo of campus with glowing lines and points

Network service improvements underway

Campus network service will be more secure and reliable due to some behind-the-scenes work underway at DoIT.

This work includes replacing existing, open-source software, authoritative Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) services with a commercially-supported system.

DNS and DHCP are parts of your network service that map, assign and manage IP addresses and associate website domains with their network location. Website users rarely notice these services when their internet connection is reliable and websites are working properly.

On the surface, it may not seem that these upgrades are critical. That’s until we look at who is affected, including police, medical personnel and other key campus officials who will depend on communication tools such as Voice Over IP (VoIP) during emergencies. These updates will also ensure vital sites for relaying messages, such as wisc.edu and alerts.wisc.edu, have additional protection from network disruption.

As a result of this change, network maintenance will be faster since it’ll be quicker and easier to deploy security fixes and new features. Campus IT departments using DoIT’s service will eventually have the option to administer their own DNS without having to invest in and manage their own infrastructure. This means reduced duplication of efforts, resource investment, and time spent on network administration.

“This will be a virtually seamless transition that will not only improve our overall network service, but provide campus IT departments more autonomy, flexibility and support” said Patrick Christian, DoIT Wide Area Network Manager. “Campus IT departments will have to do little, if anything to prepare for this change.”

Expected to be complete by late January 2017, this change will improve service reliability, network security and lay the groundwork for future network service enhancements.