January 2, 2020 - 3:30pm

Good afternoon,

This email contains important new information regarding our migration to the new campus network that will affect virtually all of us; I urge you to read it in its entirety and, as always, reach out to me or a member of the IT team if you have any questions or concerns.

IT is about to begin a complex project which will conclude with almost all College services and the majority of the community using the new network before the end of January. Getting there will involve some service disruptions this month. You can review the schedule here: https://www.amherst.edu/mm/573912

Since the network outage we experienced in February 2019, we have been implementing the new network design slowly, being very careful not to disrupt department and programming needs. The slow rollout has resulted in a long project timeline and with the old network susceptible to disruptive events like the slowdown we experienced in December 2019. Due to these factors, as of today, we have been able to migrate only eight of sixty-eight buildings to the new network.

Considering the risk inherent in this slow rollout that would have continued through the end of the academic year, we have updated our plans. A newer, more aggressive timeline we are implementing will have the majority of the campus on the new network before students return at the end of January. Although the new timeline will likely mean periodic service disruptions, it limits those disruptions mostly to January and should greatly reduce the possibility of subsequent disruption going forward.

We plan to begin work using the new schedule and starting with the Wi-Fi network on January 2. Here is the plan:

  • On January 2 and 3, we will migrate the campus completely to the eduroam wireless network. This has been long planned, and most of the community has already taken the steps needed to prepare for this on the basis of several months of messaging and direct assistance from IT. Nevertheless, we anticipate some service disruption on January 3. If you rely on the wireless network, please make sure you are connecting to the eduroam Wi-Fi network, and review these instructions to reduce the likelihood of service disruption for your devices: https://www.amherst.edu/mm/386721
  • The weeks of January 13 and January 20 will be extremely busy with most building migrations occurring during those two weeks. You should expect some disruption during the day when the building you occupy is scheduled. We anticipate these disruptions to be of limited duration, with most lasting 15 minutes or less, but it is also possible that some buildings may take longer. We will send frequent updates with detailed information days before the building you occupy is scheduled for its network migration, including information about alternative resources and work locations available. You may also review the building migration schedule here: https://www.amherst.edu/mm/573912
  • The week of January 20 will see us through the end of this phase of the project, including moving almost all network segments and services to new routing equipment.
  • Later in February, we will announce another maintenance window for the final phase of the project. The entire campus will experience a disruption during this final step of the upgrade and we will send detailed information days before it is set to take place.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but we are convinced  that the new, more aggressive schedule is a better approach than the slow, deliberate pace the project had been using. Please keep watching for frequent updates through the Daily Mammoth and the IT website at https://www.amherst.edu/it, and please contact us at AskIT@amherst.edu if you have any questions.

Thank you for your patience,

Luis O. Hernández
Associate CIO for IT Services and Outreach
Amherst College
Technology Support: AskIT@amherst.edu

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