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Enterprise network

HIPA’s high-capacity switched network

To extend connectivity across its large campus, the Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration deployed an optic fibre backbone with layer 3 switching for better performance

Part of the HIPA campus at Shimla

The Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA) wanted to connect all the buildings in its campus with a reliable, secure, high-speed, always-on LAN so that teachers and students got network access.

It deployed a network backbone based on optic fibre and copper, and used managed layer 3 and layer 2 switches to build a LAN that caters to the current information access and sharing needs of the institute, with room for future expansion.

Networking the Campus

Says Neeraj Goel, Principal System Analyst at HIPA, “We wanted to build an IT infrastructure that could cover the campus and provide information access at every residence, hostel and conference room.”

The institute decided to build a campus LAN to provide the much-needed connectivity.

The Design Challenge

The campus comprises terraces, three office blocks, six classrooms, two conference halls, two guesthouses with about 100 rooms, two cottages, and seven residential blocks that have about 48 flats.

There are 12 faculty members and up to 210 resident or non-resident officers on training in any given week. In addition, there are 78 staff members and approximately 46 families on campus.

“The challenge was to design an infrastructure that encompassed the vast geographical spread, and allowed access to all areas in the campus,” says Goel.

Network Plans

The network was planned and designed taking into account numerous factors. “We considered various aspects. Any person would have to be able to access the network from anywhere on the campus, and there would have to be adequate scope for increasing capacity and flexibility in future,” recalls Goel.

The backbone was mostly optic fibre with Cat 5 copper in places; it was built on a combination of star-and-ring topology with support for redundancy. The major buildings were interconnected with fibre; copper was used in other areas. The layout was planned keeping in mind the hilly landscape of the location.

HIPA began evaluating various solutions in December 2004, and finished the deployment process by January 2005. It selected D-Link as its solutions provider based on the promised levels of reliability and local support.


The infrastructure has been built around a layer 3-managed standalone switch that has six 1000 Base-SX SC multi-mode ports and two GBIC ports. A 1-port GBIC 1000 Base-T copper transceiver is used with the switch to provide fibre-to-copper connectivity.

Eight 24-port 10/100 Mbps layer 2 managed stackable switches are used as departmental edge switches. The switches and structured cabling components are from D-Link. The institute also used servers from Compaq and PCs from Dell on the NT and Windows 2000 platforms.

“Bad weather conditions in Shimla delayed work, which was the only issue faced during the deployment. The project took only a little more time to complete than planned,” notes Goel.

The Result

The solution provides several benefits to HIPA. “It offers easy, reliable and convenient access of the institute’s resources to people including officers undergoing training, faculty members, and administration personnel,” informs Goel.

High-speed Internet access is available to all clients, staff and guests of the institute from all areas. “It also prepares government officers and various officials for the technology-savvy world outside the institute where they will take on their responsibilities,” Goel adds.

The network infrastructure can be centrally monitored as it uses managed switches. Goel states that he doesn’t need extra manpower to manage the infrastructure. The current solution meets the requirements of the institute adequately, and HIPA feels that future needs will also be met easily. Concludes Goel, “In future, we will upgrade our technology if our infrastructure needs any technology advancements.”

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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