The School of Engineering
Students' network just got £1m bigger
Tue, Jan 3, 2012
Students in the School of Engineering have been provided with access to over 250 servers, enabling them to configure and manage network solutions for customers from small businesses to large corporate systems such as those used by Yahoo and Google.
But in addition to the super-power and high speed hardware at their fingertips, they are being taught to help clean up the internet’s burgeoning energy usage globally by writing more efficient applications to help reduce the inefficiencies that litter cyberspace.
Nick Savage, tutor on the Network Management and Administration and Computer Administration courses, said the new labs have advanced the technology available to students by six years.
He said: “It’s easy to make changes to code and networks, but doing it intelligently is what we are interested in. A good quality versus a poor quality app makes a huge difference in the speed of the internet and how much power is used.
“The internet is 10,000 times more inefficient than it should be. It is littered with code, apps and networks which are eating power at an enormous rate.
“The internet is forecast to be using one per cent of the entire world’s electricity within the next few years and this isn’t sustainable. We need to train tomorrow’s computing experts to work more sustainably.”
Second year network management and design student Richard Davenport said: “The new lab is a fantastic improvement on the lab used last year. Faster machines allow us to get more work done in the same time and the working environment is so much better.”
The new labs have over 26 Terabytes of storage across 250 servers with 48 layer 2/3 access layer, 48 layer 2/3 distribution layer switches, 96 multi-layer routers, 1Gbps cable infrastructure and control equipment to enable full remote access so it can be accessed by staff and students from anywhere in the world.
Graduates from Nick’s courses work for government agencies, including GCHQ, internet service and application providers such as Yahoo, Talk Talk and Amazon, and other internet industries including Microsoft, IBM and Cisco.