The University of Hong Kong Maintains its Edge as Regional Centre of Learning Excellence with H3C IPv6 Technology

“The H3C proposed new solution will allow IPv4 and IPv6 clients to co-exist in the same environment ensuring service continuity for all IPv4 systems and paving the way for more advanced IPv6 systems for HKU in the future,” said Dr P.T. Ho, Deputy Director, IT Services, The University of Hong Kong.

Background

As the oldest tertiary educational institution in Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) strives to maintain its status as the
best learning institution not only in the SAR but across Asia and the world. Its aspirations are reflected in its vision and articulated around the three strategic themes for 2009-2014. These include: to enhance the student learning experience; to foster advanced research and innovation; and to promote knowledge exchange and demonstrate leadership in communities across the region.

To achieve these targets, the University of Hong Kong IT Services (HKUITS) continually evaluates technologies and best practices that will help HKU achieve its missions. As the university was one of the early pioneers in the use of the internet to foster research and innovation, the HKUITS noted the IPv4 IP address was fast running out and that a dual stack IPv4/v6 platform was required to ensure HKU could take the next step in the coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 clients throughout all campus.

H3C is assisting HKU to design and build its next-generation IPv6-ready network infrastructure, which will cover the main campus, student residential halls, remote sites such as Cyberport, the Faculty of Medicine at Sassoon Road and Queen Mary Hospital in Pokfulam, and remote offices in the Kennedy Town Centre and the new Centennial Campus.

The Solution

The HKU started a pilot IPv6 project in 2006. In order to ensure the coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 clients and servers across the
whole campus, H3C network devices already support IPv6 features, and enable HKU to further develop the next generation IPv6 network infrastructure. Today the existing HKU network includes two high-performance H3C S9500E core switches to provide the high performance 10GE backbone that links all existing campuses and the new Centennial campus now under construction.

More than 350 building and floor switches have been upgraded to H3C S5120-EI and S5500-EI to boost performance and security. Over 1500 IEEE 802.11n access points (H3C WA2620E) have been installed to extend network coverage across all parts of the campus including student halls of residence. H3C's flagship iMC (intelligent Management Centre) software manages and monitors the core backbone switches as well as the wireless network.

Beyond the existing pilot IPv6 backbone, H3C proposes to HKU an enhanced solution to support the co-existence of IPv4 and IPv6 clients throughout all campuses. This will ensure service continuity of old IPv4 systems, while prepare for the extensive use of IPv6 network in the near future.

Why H3C?

“One of our chief concerns in deploying IPv6 is to make sure that the introduction of IPv6 does not disrupt existing IPv4 services.
HKU also needed a partner with the relevant skills, experience and credentials to guide us in our strategy,” said Dr P. T. Ho,Deputy Director, IT Services, The University of Hong Kong.

H3C has a proven track record in rapid IPv6 deployments. H3C's support for and involvement with the China Education and
Research Network (CERNET) illustrates its technical strength and underlines H3C's status as the market leader in this field. In addition, H3C has impressed HKU with its professional research & development, pre- and post-sales support, demonstrating H3C's understanding of the university's unique IT requirements.

The Benefits

IPv6, the next-generation Internet Protocol, represents a significant leap in terms of IP addresses from IPv4 allowing more users and devices to communicate on the Internet. It allows computers and applications to detect and take advantage of IPv6-enabled networks and services without requiring any action from user. This will significantly ease administrative tasks for the HKUITS.

HKU started building the IPv6 campus network in 2006. When completed, the network will support IPv6 connections across a
number of important applications and services including ERP, Grid Computing, and new multimedia teaching and research services. IPv6 deployment is crucial in ensuring that HKU facilitates an environment that encourages learning and collaboration not only within the campus but with academia and industries in other parts of the world.