Fiber-optic cable installation;
Cable boosts telecom
Northwestern, Evanston benefit from high-speed networking
By Megan Fellman
Just one year after North-western and the City of Evanston signed a partnership
agreement, the University’s telecommunications network on the Evanston
campus has more capacity and reliability, and the city has a newly installed
fiber-optic cable system connecting 16 city facilities.
“Working together with Northwestern on this project is one of the most
encouraging things that has happened on the city council in a number of years,” said
Alderman Edmund B. Moran, who was instrumental in developing the agreement between
the city and North-western. “The University has made a very fine contribution
by entering into this with the city. We both will benefit in years to come.”
The University’s role in the agreement, which takes advantage of Northwestern’s
expertise in telecommunications, was to fund and oversee the $1.6 million project
in return for a reduction of its telecom easement payments to the city. The easement
agreement, which will span 20 years, gives the Univer-sity the right to use the
underground public right-of-way to deliver fiber-optic cable to its buildings
The entire campus is now connected by fiber, with the exclusion of the boathouse.
The University put in a new path to Ryan Field as well as a second path to the
building at 2020 Ridge, which houses servers for a variety of university services.
The path to Ryan Field connects it to the rest of the campus for the first time.
In addition, new fiber was added to already existing pathways to Rebecca Crown
Center, which is home to a new routing site that will increase network reliability,
and Elder Hall.
The first use of the new fiber was June 18 during commencement at Ryan Field.
The ceremony is always broadcast to a remote location, such as an auditorium,
in case of bad weather. The fiber, which replaced a copper wire connection, provides
increased bandwidth for excellent picture quality. (The fiber also adds the ability
to deliver the broadcast to any computer on the campus’s multicast network,
which includes all student rooms and most of the campus.)
The city can now connect to a fiber-optic cable system that provides the backbone
needed to support high-speed data networking and Internet connections. The system
connects the police station, all of the fire stations, the Civic Center, Noyes
Cultural Arts Center, the Levy Senior Center, all of the community centers (Chandler-Newberger,
Fleetwood-Jourdain and Robert Crown), the fleet services division, the water
treatment plant, the south water tower and the Evanston Public Library.
The fiber-optic cable will enable the city to transfer data up to 10 gigabits,
and more, per second — 500 times faster than the old network. The city
can also use the Internet protocol infrastructure for telephone communications
and high-tech security cameras.