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Friday, April 7, 2017

NGN WiFi upgrade begins April 12

The Next Generation Network (NGN) project at the University of Minnesota will upgrade all components of the University's network, both wired and WiFi, over the next three years. The new network will increase speed and throughput capacity, improve wireless access, and improve security management.

WiFi access point hardware upgrades will begin on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on Monday, April 12, 2017. This work will impact every WiFi access point in buildings and structures across campus. Replacement of access points is a bit like replacing a light bulb; the old one is removed and the new one is installed and turned on. Service disruption is expected to be minimal.

The first phase is on the St. Paul Campus, and the schedule is available at it.umn.edu/ngn-schedule. Please note that the NGN schedule is subject to change.

Network access after cutover:
  • Users should begin using "eduroam" for the most user-friendly experience.
  • After an access point has been replaced, available networks will adjust slightly. Users may need to reauthenticate after an access point has been replaced if they are using the "UofM Secure" network. Reauthentication should not be necessary for users connected to "eduroam."
  • The outdated network "UofM" will no longer be available.
  • "UofM-Guest" will be available for guest access, and a new user-friendly portal web page will instruct users how to securely log in. Students, faculty, and staff will be encouraged to connect to eduroam.
  • Students, faculty,, and staff who choose to connect to the "UofM-Guest" network will NOT be able to visit applications or services controlled by central authentication (Shibboleth).
    • For example: MyU, University Google applications, VPN, financial systems, etc. WiFi access to centrally-authenticated controlled applications will only be allowed from eduroam and UofM Secure.

The following are more in depth details of the WiFi Access Point upgrade project:
  • WiFi AP upgrade work will happen during business hours, from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • WiFi cutover work will be performed all day, every day of the schedule until it is complete. When a building is completed, the contractor team will move to the next building on the NGN schedule.
  • The project team does not expect to perform any building cuts on weekends or holidays. Overtime work is not in scope.
  • The expected individual access point service impact is approximately 15 minutes. If other access points cover that physical space, service impact will be limited.

Classes will be taken into consideration during the WiFi Access Point upgrade project work.
  • During WiFi AP upgrades, the contractors and NGN project field staff will work in classrooms when vacant, based on class schedules provided by the Office of Classroom Management (OCM) and Academic Health Center (AHC) Classroom Management.
  • OCM and AHC will provide access to classrooms and spaces for contractors when needed.
  • Wherever possible, cuts in classrooms will be completed in the early morning.

The NGN project team is doing everything possible to ensure smooth transitions and minimal service disruptions during the project.
  • The Technology Help Desk and Tier 2 support are trained and ready for calls regarding WiFi changes, service disruptions, re-authentication, and/or network name changes.
  • All support issues should be sent through the OIT Help Desk. Explore Technology Help resources at it.umn.edu/contact-us.
  • Post-cutover feedback is encouraged and can be shared with ngn@umn.edu.
  • News and schedules will be posted to the NGN website in a timely matter at it.umn.edu/ngn. You can also follow NGN updates on Twitter at @UMN_NGN.

The NGN project and field teams are committed to making this a smooth experience. If you have specific questions or would like to meet with the project team to discuss the NGN project further, please contact ngn@umn.edu.