On June 28, 2019, a major fibre cut in Surrey, B.C., brought down Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) primary network for 38 hours. The outage could have disrupted technology–dependent teaching and learning functions, affecting thousands of students, faculty and staff.
However, just three days earlier, KPU had implemented automatic failover of its technology services to their new diverse dark fibre network, allowing all five of KPU’s campuses to continue delivering uninterrupted services.
With the main Surrey campus hosting 95 per cent of KPU’s applications, any disruption in connectivity can have a severe impact on all key departments, from finance, payroll and HR, to the library and many student services. Had KPU not implemented a diverse network, operations at all five campuses, would come to a halt, including student email, student records, learning management systems, business systems and internet access.
The fibre cut occurred during KPU’s payroll week. A network outage could have delayed KPU’s ability to pay its employees. With the finance team located in Langley, and the HR system hosted in Surrey, the entire team would have had to move to the Surrey campus, leading to delayed processing and staff overtime.
“Having diverse networks is not an option for institutions as any interruption in service heavily impacts the student, staff and faculty experience. With more than 21,000 students and nearly 1,500 employees at KPU, network diversity ensures we can maintain operations, support teaching and learning, and provide a positive student experience.”
Chief Information Officer | KPU
Serving KPU's growing regions with a wide range of services
Today, network diversity ensures high availability of technology dependent teaching and learning functions and enables KPU’s ability to evolve and serve its diverse and growing region by providing a wide range of offerings, services and activities.
It will be these kinds of technology-enabled and connectivity-dependent solutions that will support goals like those outlined in VISION 2023, KPU’s strategic plan. These goals include enhancing the student experience, enriching the employee experience, increasing innovation in teaching, learning and curriculum, expanding research and scholarship, fostering environmental sustainability through KPU’s offerings, and supporting continuous improvement of all KPU programs and services. Network diversity is a critical component that will help KPU deliver on VISION 2023, enabling the university to serve its diverse, dynamic and growing region, and ensuring graduates are prepared for a lifetime of learning and re-learning.
“As we become more dependent on technology to meet our strategic and academic goals, we are fortunate to have key leaders on our senior management team ensuring that we are well-positioned to withstand and avoid catastrophic impacts, such as those that would have resulted from the fibre cut. That incident was an incredible affirmation of our very strategic investment in the dark fibre project.”
DR. ALAN DAVIS
President | KPU
technology and KPU's 30-Year Master Plan
Also underway is the development of KPU’s 30-year campus master plan. The IT team is playing a pivotal role in identifying supporting technology, optimizing building capacities and resources, and specifying what facilities will look like and what services will be provided.
Part of the planning includes discussions around the classrooms of the future and adding network diversity across KPU’s campuses to ensure that a consistent student experience can be provided at all locations.
Reza explains, "When we look at our future classrooms and supporting our strategic mandates, we are certain that connectivity will be key for teaching, learning and innovation. A new generation of faculty are coming in saying ‘We could do a lot with tech.’ Technology, supported by network diversity, will also go a long way to future-proofing the classroom. And we want to make sure the students, faculty and staff have the right experiences. Network diversity will go a long way to helping us achieve our objectives."
Helping Organizations to Achieve their Strategic Vision
"We are committed to helping organizations achieve their strategic vision through collaboration, strategic partnerships and innovative solutions. KPU’s diverse network connection is an excellent example of BCNET helping organizations in leveraging technology to achieve their strategic vision."
President & CEO | BCNET