Aberystwyth University IT networking infrastructure project by Northstar

Success Story: Aberystwyth University Project

Aberystwyth University relies on Cisco Networking Infrastructure to provide internet access to students and in their new Fferm Penglais student residences whilst maintaining IT efficiency.


Cisco Networking Infrastructure


Aberystwyth University


Aberystwyth, Wales


1 September 2017 – 18 August 2018


One Year

The Challenge

Aberystwyth University’s mission is to provide a first-class student experience and excellence in research. Located in the idyllic countryside, on the Welsh west coast, Aberystwyth is one of the safest universities in Britain.

To fulfil this vision, the University invested £45 million in Fferm Penglais, a new development offering accommodation for 1000 students.

However, supporting this mission demands a significant technology infrastructure. Thousands of students arrive in September and October expecting world-class connectivity, access to university resources and the internet.

With so much depending on the network, the Aberystwyth University network must remain in service at all times. Furthermore, the students need wired access to their devices in their bedrooms. Additionally, they need wireless, both inside the accommodation, in communal buildings and externally. In terms of protection, the key to protecting any network on this scale is maintaining security and using the most reliable equipment configured to the best network standards available.

However, one of the drawbacks of a free and open educational network is that it is available to many devices, all containing individual risks to the overall networking environment. Furthermore, the performance and reliability of the network are imperative to ensuring that the services are always available.

The other significant responsibility for the IT team is maintaining regulatory compliance. With clinical and financial information constantly traversing the network, the institution must enforce compliance standards.

The Networking Infrastructure Solution

With such a specific set of requirements, Aberystwyth University needed a highly versatile, manageable networking infrastructure. So, the University turned to Northstar Ltd to implement a Cisco Solution. Aberystwyth University has long used an end-to-end Cisco network. Over the past several years, the IT team has employed more and more Cisco technologies.

Controlling the Endpoints

Given the open environment, numerous internet connections and frequent guests that characterise Aberystwyth University, the IT team cannot fully lock down network endpoints. As a result, connectivity must up at all times.

We connected the network in the Penglais Campus with two rings of fibre maintained with Catalyst 2960-X Series Access Switches and two Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Distribution Switches. As a result, this ensured that breaks in the cable or equipment failure do not affect the 1000 student users connecting their many IT devices.

Each distribution switch has a distinct network route back to the main university campus. The internal wireless access comes from a Cisco Aironet 1500 Series External Wireless Access Points, with internal wireless provided by Cisco Aironet 3600 Series Wireless Access Points. As a result, there are very high levels of manageability and reliability.

Simplifying Administration

The management of all the Cisco equipment is simple from a central location, and changes distributed to switch stacks is quick and easy.


The 10GB Single-Mode Fibre connections provided access to the campus at high speed over the distance from the main building and ensured that larger files and accommodate large numbers of users.


Today, Aberystwyth University successfully accommodates the needs of their students over the new network providing them with the open academic environment they need while protecting sensitive information and assets.

Furthermore, the Cisco network administration tools make a real difference, eliminating much of the time and effort that would otherwise be devoted to manual processes. Ultimately, Northstar and Cisco have proven to be crucial partners for Aberystwyth University.

Next Steps

In the coming months, Aberystwyth University plans to continue expanding the Cisco strategy, including bringing additional resources online set of procedures.

How can Northstar help you with your networking infrastructure project?

Northstar can help you with your networking infrastructure project as well. No matter the scale of the project, Northstar will help you reach your destination with the power of IT and digital transformation. Contact us today for more information.

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