University of Warwick pipes student TV channel over campus IP network

05 Jul 2005

The University of Warwick, working in conjunction with UK network integrator, Data Integration, has completed a pilot project to pipe its on-site, student run TV channel direct to 6000 student bedrooms over its Extreme Networks IP network.

For the last month, Warwick TV, ( comprised of student presenters, technicians, editors and producers, has been multicasting a mix of programmes covering local news and sport, comedy, arts and current affairs direct to PCs in students bedrooms and TVs in communal areas. The Warwick TV group is currently gathering feedback from students and other users of the TV channel with a view to establishing a full service for the next academic year.

When purchased in 2001 from Extreme Networks, Warwick's Halls of Residence network infrastructure was implemented with voice and video service provision in mind, with aggregated Gigabit links in the core and 100Mbps connections to each of the 6000 student bedrooms. As such, the IT Services team, working with Data Integration and students from the TV Group, have been able to support the pilot project with minimal extra investment.

We've always seen our network as the foundation of our commitment to deliver new services that enrich our students' academic and recreational lives, said Mary Visser, deputy director of IT Services, University of Warwick. We originally selected the Extreme Networks infrastructure with the intention of delivering voice and video services over IP in the near future. So, when the students came to us last year with the proposition to start broadcasting a TV channel across the network, we knew we could deliver this with the minimum of investment and support commitments.

An Optibase TV Streaming Platform was installed to provide MPEG2 encoding from analogue video/audio inputs, while the Extreme Networks infrastructure was re-configured to maximise the use of its multicasting and Quality of Service features. With these enabled, other core services, including access to the Internet, e-learning and library resources can be delivered alongside the Warwick TV channel.

The Warwick TV project is an excellent demonstration of the capabilities and 'future proofing' that are standard in Extreme Networks' product range, commented Garath Lauder, managing director of Data Integration. The Halls of Residence network was originally designed to support Internet access, gaming and fileshare access to the student network. With Extreme's technology and our expertise in designing multicast infrastructures we were able to accommodate full multicast routing and streaming across the four year old network without any additional hardware or software upgrades.

Editors notes

In 2001, the University of Warwick implemented a Halls of Residence network, with Extreme Networks Black Diamond switches in the core and utilising Extreme Summit switches across the distribution and edge network. The network provides students and academics living within the Halls of Residence with high-speed access to University and Internet services from over 6,000 rooms across campus. Every one of the 6,000 ports has a network connection of at least 100Mbps to the edge switches, which run Gigabit Ethernet to the Core / Distribution to enable the transmission of large library files, e-learning material, multimedia content, gaming and voice over IP applications.