The sign of a good network is that it’s invisible. Information is obtained, sent, and received in a matter of seconds. Connections are created and terminated seamlessly. We trust our networks to support us in all our pursuits, but in order for that to happen, we need to support our networks just as much. The Research Network Infrastructure Upgrade (RNIU) is a program to support and modernize the university's networks.
In November 2016, the University of Alberta announced a $20 million program to upgrade the research facilities thanks to funds awarded through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF). Of the ten SIF grants awarded through Facilities and Operations, RNIU is the only one led by Information Services and Technology — it is also the only IT project in Alberta that received SIF funding.
RNIU comprises 41 individual projects that range from construction at the University Botanical Gardens to procuring a new piece of software for intrusion protection. The implementation of the RNIU projects have the following objectives:
- Improve capacity of equipment to meet the capacity and analysis needs set by increasingly large research data.
- Address technical deficits and modernize critical, core infrastructure.
- Replace aging equipment and upgrade it to current standards.
The university will see a variety of benefits to research and infrastructure on campus because of RNIU:
- Multiple units, departments, and Faculties across every campus can engage in work that may have otherwise been cost-prohibitive.
- Any deferred maintenance can be performed.
- The university community can access better data security, speed, and stability, all of which is vital to research and allows the university to keep up with technology.
- Network upgrades will enhance research and innovation capacity at the U of A, particularly in fields that need to store and analyze large data sets. This will accelerate the commercialization of new products and processes, generating economic growth and diversifying the economy.