Tufts Improves Network Connections between Boston and Grafton

Dawn Irish
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 12:15pm

Tufts server
Over the past several months, Tufts Technology Services’ (TTS) staff members have been working to lease ‘dark fiber’ cables between the Boston and Grafton campuses.   The new cables will allow the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to leverage additional university services and will provide more redundant, reliable network service to the campus. According to TTS’ Network Engineering Team Lead Dave DeChellis, “the project will help get more consistent and long-term service to the Grafton campus.”

Dark fiber refers to unused fiber-optic cable. In an effort to control costs and increase the potential for profit, telecommunications companies often lay more fiber-optic cables than they need to conduct their business.  They then lease what’s left, the dark fiber, to companies that want to establish optical connections between their own locations.  Tufts leased our dark fiber from a company called Lightower, but it is up to TTS to provide the necessary infrastructure to make it functional.

The new connections offer Grafton more bandwidth to support increasing technology needs. Two lines have been installed between the Medical Center, Sackler, and Grafton for redundancy. In the event that one line has to be taken out of service for maintenance, Grafton will still be able to connect to the Boston campus through the other line.

Although these back-end changes probably won’t be noticeable to internet users on the Grafton campus, they will help to improve service quality in the long term. DeChellis notes, “This will make it easier for the staff in many ways and Tufts’ Finance department will negotiate our network contracts less frequently.   From a technical standpoint, we’ve gained more bandwidth and the ability to maintain the connections ourselves.”