Northwood IV & V get network upgrade

Exterior of Northwood 4 apartments with flowers and bicycles in the foreground.
(U-M Housing)

For ITS Infrastructure teams the Labor Day weekend was not a holiday — they were working down to the wire, fighting through bad weather in Ann Arbor to complete work on North Campus to complete a much needed network upgrade to Northwoods IV & V whose apartments are home to many U-M graduate students and their families. 

This past spring when the university had to shift to remote classes in just three days, residents at Northwood IV & V reported issues with poor network connectivity and performance issues with videoconferencing services, making it difficult for students to complete their courses.  Knowing that this fall semester would consist of classes both in-person and remote, ITS invested in network improvements to these important housing facilities to ensure U-M students would have a better experience.

Providing updates to networking at these facilities has long been a challenge for University Housing and ITS because, unlike other campus buildings, Northwood IV & V has coaxial cabling, rather than fiber-optic. ITS teams found a solution to leverage the existing coaxial cabling and enhance it with a new, modern design and electronics that allowed them to keep the upgrade costs low.

On the weekend of August 29-30, network teams cut over to the new and improved network. Northwood residents should now experience performance that is improved by 4-10 times.