Ahmadu Bello University has built the largest optical fibre backbone network in Nigeria Prior to this the school ran a wireless network which was prone to interference and lightning surges. The long haul fibre link is a single-mode 96 core optical fibre cable and is used to link the three campuses. .
As part of the efforts of the University to improve the learning environment and taking advantage of the network’s capacity, quite a number of Smart boards have been deployed around the University with emphasis on Faculties of Administration, Science, Engineering and Education in addition to 1753-beam multimedia projectors.
A total number of 42 IP Cameras have also deployed at some strategic locations around the University. Three Multimedia LED Boards have also been commissioned at the Main Campus and Kongo Campus for information, education, advertisement, etc purposes. These boards are also riding on the network. This will enable events to be relayed live to audiences around or far from the location. This will take advantage of the video streaming capabilities of the network.
Ahmadu Bello University has also built its own Data Centre, a world class network operating centre located at the forma ABU Bookshop. The ABU Data Centre is probably the best of its kind in Nigeria and it very critical to the operations of the optical-fibre based network and provides the platform for up scaling the network and all the services that can be provided. It can house up to 34 (42U) racks and is fully equipped with fire suspension system, 30KVA back-up power supply and biometric and camera-based security system..
A Data Centre is a dedicated space where most of the ICT infrastructure (servers and storage equipment that run application software and process and store data and content) that support the network are kept and operated. Also terminated at the Data Centre is the STM-1 link providing the University with a full-duplex bandwidth of 155Mbps.
Cisco being a world leader in networking was an obvious choice of network devices. Two 6500 Switch series combined with various high capacity Cisco Campus Switches (such as Cisco 3750s and also the 2960s) have been deployed across the campus network. Additionally, Cisco Network Management and monitoring was also factored in using Cisco’s ACS Server appliance, as well as security firewalls to ensure protection of the campus all-round.
The Cisco-based ABU Zaria optic-fibre campus network links the Faculties and Departments (There is a fibre link to every floor of almost all academic and strategic buildings in the University in addition to the LAN), Halls of residence, Laboratories and Libraries (offering a minimum of 1GB connectivity). Internet and intranet access to more than 40,000 students and staff..
The deployment of the fibre infrastructure and an extensive LAN coverage throughout the campuses will open up opportunities to enhance teaching and teachers capacity to access multiple resources and use modem teaching aids in classrooms, labs and lecture halls..
Taking advantage of the infrastructure, learners are equally exposed to more resources via access and teaching labs without the usual constraints.
Working in isolation is a thing of the past now, with the advantage of the internet and various collaboration tools staff and students can equally lay hands on academic materials, share knowledge and exchange ideas to further enhance learning experience.
The common desire of any reputable institution is to be visible amongst its peers and to ultimately stand out. With the recent deployment of an NREN node at ABU coupled with its potentials in projecting the image of the University both nationally and internationally, ABU has taken advantage of the opportunity and lead the way.