Network Operations Center

The Lee College (LEEnet) network is composed of a gigabit backbone network with campus buildings connected via single- and multi-mode fiber to the network operations centers (NOC). The NOC provides Ethernet connectivity between buildings and its associated switching site. The campus LAN connects routers and PIX firewalls to the Internet. Category 5/6 UTP is installed which supports Ethernet and AppleTalk high-speed data networking to the desktop.

Data communications is provided to over 5,000 users located in student computing laboratories, classrooms, faculty, administrative and staff offices. All telecommunications and network cabling is installed and maintained by the Office of Innovation and Information Technology. Under current network design requirements, all telecommunications jacks are wired directly to an intermediate distribution frame (IDF) that contains the rack-mounted switches, UPS, fiber connections in each building and then to the main distribution frame (MDF). File servers support various student and administrative network applications. A Sun server provides Domain Name Services (DNS) and Web services. The network backbone supports Ethernet, TCP/IP and AppleTalk protocols.

Lee College has two main network operations centers one of which serves as the central distribution center. These facilities provide vital I.T. functions as can be designed within the fiscal abilities of the college. The network operations centers provide full power protection and controlled secure access. Network services includes DHCP that provides all devices on campus with IP addresses which are essential for network usage, DNS services which translates names (e.g., www.lee.edu) to IP addresses, LDAP as the central authentication mechanism for the college and support services for centralized databases such as the Student Administration and Financial Modules.

The distribution layer of the network is composed of Cisco Catalyst 6500/4000 series switches. These switches are modular in nature and have the ability to terminate connections of all speeds and medium types. Most of the core switches in the network contain a supervisor engine and 100/1000 MB blades.

The 4006 also has 2 Gigabit ports on the supervisor engine, which allow for two connections of Gigabit without additional hardware. Distribution switches are uplinked to the core layer by using a technology called ether-channeling. This technology allows two physical ports to be bound together as one to provide two times the throughput. The other two distribution switches are located in the Moler Hall and Tec-Voc building.

The core layer of the network is composed of several Cisco Catalyst 6509 switches. These switches also function as the core routers with the addition of a routing engine. These devices have the ability to move any type of traffic along with the ability to apply the security restrictions developed by I.T. to coincide with the College’s business rules. All core routers are connected at Gigabit speeds.

In the future each core router will be connected to all three of the other core routers which will create what is referred to as a fully-meshed core. This configuration will give us the ability to “route” around a failed core router with out interruption to service. In this configuration each connection from the distribution layer will connect to a separate and unique core router allowing for the same type of redundancy.

The Internet Layer at Lee College is composed of multiple full-duplex T-1s linked to the University of Texas. Future growth is planned for an OC-3 circuit. The full-duplex connection allows for data to both sent and received at the same time. The University of Texas THEnet Operations Center was developed to provide high speed connectivity to and from educational institutions within the state. Our Internet connections are terminated on Cisco 7206 routers. Each of these routers has a 100mb/s connection to the respective core router.

O.I.T. employs network shaping tools to manage the amount and types of traffic flowing to and from the Internet. Utilizing special software we are able to control various types of traffic which have the ability to overwhelm our Internet connections. An example of this type of traffic is Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs. These programs not only allow the user to download all types of files, but all of these programs also can make a user computer a server to the entire Internet. We are able to classify this type of traffic and constrain it via a throughput limit.

Lee College campus network is managed by the Office of Innovation and Information Technology. High-speed connectivity to the backbone is made available through centrally maintained CISCO routers. All network equipment attaches directly to the campus backbone and is directly controlled by OIT.

Campus Network Support for Classrooms and Administrative Applications

Advanced Technology Center Classrooms

The classrooms have been architecturally outfitted to encompass the latest in projection, network, and communication technologies for its multiple uses as classroom and computing lab. Embedded in the instructors podium is a touch-screen via which the instructor can use the computer for PowerPoint presentations, the LCD projector or run a DVD or VCR. A digital document camera that can project images of three-dimensional objects is also included in the podium. In addition to the array of projection equipment, classrooms are networked so that students can work on class assignments and connect to instructional websites.

Bookstore Online Ticketing System

The Campus Bookstore uses ProVenue software on the network to provide online ticket sales for Athletic Events. ProVenue provides small to medium-sized venues a fully integrated ticketing, fund development and patron tracking software solution, combined with 24/7 Internet ticket sales. The ticketing system allows the Bookstore to collect and analyze patron data, design and run custom reports, and utilize vital customer information to implement targeted marketing initiatives.

Campus Security Monitoring – Access Cards/IP Security Cameras

The AXIS 2110 Network Camera is installed in Technical-Vocational Building One for remote monitoring of computer labs. The AXIS 2110 delivers up to 15 images/second through a standard Web browser. Unlike a simple Web cam, it includes a built-in Web server and connects as a standalone unit directly to a network. The access control system utilizes B.A.S.I.S. ET software that allows the college to start small and expand the access control system as the campus needs change. The software application modules (Access Control, Alarm Monitoring, ID Credential Management, Digital Video, Asset Management, Information Security Management, Visitor Management, etc.) are all seamlessly integrated. B.A.S.I.S. ET uses a single database server and a single user interface for all applications. All software can be configured, administered, and monitored from a single administrative workstation.

Chambers County Community Wireless Network (CCCnet)

Located in East Texas between the Houston and Beaumont metropolitan areas, Chambers County is a large county with limited resources to serve its citizens. The county is composed of 614 square miles of land and 295 square miles of water. For a county this large, the population is small, only 25,028. It has grown from 17 percent to 29 percent of the population since 1990.

A broadband wireless network located in Chambers County provides high speed IP connectivity to the county. The network is the key element upon which to provide immediate results from the TIF grant as well as the component from which all other services and solutions can be provided. The network solution is a combination of Axxcelera Broadband 5 GHz along with Western Mux gear deployed to obtain a high quality, commercial grade network.

Axxcelera Broadband Wireless is the preferred solution provider for high-speed Internet services based on Axxcelera’s point-to-multipoint AB-Access fixed broadband wireless platform.

The AB-Access solution consists of both wireless access points (WAPs) and subscriber units (SUs), purpose-built for WAN deployment. Towers were constructed at some locations to insure Line of Sight (LOS. CCCnet will have 10 public access points mostly located in community buildings in Chambers County. The locations contain computers, printers and required software. Most of the locations are community centers used by the neighborhoods for a variety of activities, from neighborhood meetings to family reunions. The others are county libraries located in Winnie, Mont Belvieu and Anahuac. Future plans are to select commercial providers to connect residential and business locations to the wireless network including centralized Technical Help Desk support.

The sites were chosen by community surveys and a study of county building availability. The planning committee identified locations in neighborhoods with under-served and/or isolated populations. Several additional opportunities for future growth are being explored which could further optimize the design metrics of the network.

Cisco Academy Network Classrooms

The Cisco Networking Academy Program is a comprehensive e-learning program, which provides Lee College students with the Internet technology skills essential in a global economy. The Networking Academy program delivers Web-based content, online assessment, student performance tracking, hands-on-labs, instructor training and support, and preparation for industry standard certifications such as CCNA and CCNP.

The Cisco Networking Academy was created for individuals that are seeking entry level positions into the Computer Networking and Design Industry. The program centers on teaching students to design, build, and maintain computer networks. Using Web technologies, the Cisco Networking Academy Program prepares students for the 21st century workplace and serves as a valuable model for successful learning . Students learn how to connect together multiple computers and sites using routers, switches, network monitoring tools and fiber optics.

Cisco Academy students learn how to interconnect computer resources such as: printers, file storage, file sharing, email and interoffice messaging. Students also learn to determine the resources any given company has and design their networking system to meet the resources available, as well as options for expansion. Students learn how to determine the costs of installation and application of networking for any company. Students learn the physical medium for networking, such as wires and interconnections in a state-of-the-art hands-on networking facility. Students learn the actual wiring for all connections within a building.

Library HALAN System

The Houston Public Library operates HALAN (Houston Area Library Automated Network), a computer network that serves seven public libraries and one community college library in the Houston area. Houston Public Library’s network was installed in 1996. The system is connected via a direct T-1 line to Houston Public Library. The installation of new data communications equipment enables Houston Public Library to improve public access to the Library’s catalog, the Internet, online databases and other electronic resources. The bandwidth was increased this past year which directly benefit customers with faster connections at public access workstations. One of the benefits of HALAN is the ability to search the catalogs of the member libraries of the Houston Area Library Automated Network.

The Library collection contains approximately 100,000 books and bound periodicals, current periodicals that support an academic and technical curriculum, over 100,000 pieces of microform, nearly 4,000 audiovisual materials, government documents, e-books, and thousands of full-text periodical articles from over 45 databases. The library has multiple Internet workstations to support research.

National Science Foundation Fieldbus Classrooms

Provides regional direction to the technical education needed for networking, instrumentation, and electrical technologies impacted by the advent of fieldbus networks. The Fieldbus Center provides the following services: (1) Designing systems for teaching fieldbus and process control networks, (2) Creating and maintaining an applied research facility and (3) Developing multi-craft curriculum for fieldbus and industrial networking technologies. All certified fieldbus training courses emphasize hands-on design, installation and maintenance instruction in a realistic industrial environment. Learn more about Fieldbus Technology

PeopleSoft Enterprise Administrative Database Support Systems

Our staff of 2 DBAs creates and maintains the Lee College District Microsoft SQL databases ensuring reliable, efficient, and timely access to database information across the college district. Lee College suite of applications includes PeopleSoft Financials 8.4 SP1 that includes Asset Management, Budgets, General Ledger, Payables and Purchasing. The PeopleSoft Learning Solutions modules include Academic Advising, Benefits, Campus Community, Financial Aid, Enterprise Human Resources, Payroll, Student Financials and Student Records running Microsoft SQL RDBMS on UNISYS ES7000/520 hardware with 32 Processors and 32 GB Ram. We currently support 22 SQL database instances.

The system is partitioned into multiple OS instances of four nodes, each running Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Cluster Service with Microsoft SQL and SQL Clusters. Each Node consists of 8 processors and 8 GB of Ram. Two partitions are directly connected to a CX400 disk sub-system using Fiber Channel technology.

Database Security, confidentiality, integrity and data backups

The college uses SSL (Secure Socket Layers) digital certificates as the industry recommended standard of 128-bit encryption to access PeopleSoft student academic records. In addition, each user on the system has a unique PeopleSoft user ID and password to access student data. Passwords on the Lee College Network Domain and PeopleSoft Enterprise System expire on a regular basis at ninety (90) days with notification prior to expiration. The performance is achieved through disk mirroring to ensure data reliability through a redundant RAID 0+1 solution from EMC disk subsystem. This solution allows us to maintain better fault tolerance against hard drive failures. Database backups are redundant through tape media and disk media. The backup recovery procedures are for weekly differentials and weekends for full tape backups. In addition, we backup the transaction logs of the PeopleSoft database every 30 minutes during the week in case of data loss or equipment failures. Database backups are stored in a special fire proof cabinet safe for tape media. Also we have in place off-site backups at the SJ Mall locations and Huntsville administrative office locations for disaster recovery.

Science Building Classrooms

The Science Building consists of several wireless and wired networks. The Computer Science Lab consists of 24 locked-down Macintosh computers that are hardwired to printers in the lab as well as the Internet. The Macintosh computers in the microbiology lab and both general biology labs are also hardwired as requested by the instructors. The three Anatomy and Physiology Labs, the two Chemistry Labs, Environmental Lab, and the two Physics Labs consist of laboratory Macintosh computers that are on a secured wireless network and connected to both printers and the Internet. The wireless and wired networks are also extended to the lecture rooms in the building. Also requested by the instructors, some of the lecture rooms have a ceiling suspended computer projection system with audio and video accessibility.

Blackboard Course Delivery System

Lee College selected Blackboard in 1999 as one of the best systems to support a full range of teaching and learning styles, while making the most intelligent and efficient use of the college’s intellectual and technical resources. Blackboard provides students the flexibility to learn when and where they want. The number of online course offerings in the Distance Education Program has increased dramatically, due to the ease with which instructors can customize Blackboard to fit their own needs.

More information: helpdesk@lee.edu