Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Network upgrade, phase 1: Upgrade of the distribution and access switches
Year Submitted 2019
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name / Nom Title / Titre
Daniel Girard Manager of the Network Upgrade Project
Cloutier Léo Manager of the Network Division
Ruel Ian Assistant Manager of the Network Division
Name of Institution Université du Québec à Montréal
Office Address 320 Sainte-Catherine St. East
Montréal, Quebec H2X 1L7
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Telephone: 514-987-4335
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Thompson, Sylvia
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Acting Vice-President of Administration and Finance
Office Address 1430, rue Saint-Denis
Montréal, Quebec H2X 3J8
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Telephone: 514-987-3099
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Replacement of the outdated network infrastructures throughout the university campus, which includes more than 32 pavilions and 250 telecommunication rooms.

All while ensuring interoperability with the different systems that are not being replaced and must remain operational, such as: all the IP telephony systems; IP telephony devices; fax, voice recognition, voicemail, security camera and call recording servers; and others.

More specifically:

- Install the physical infrastructures using single-mode optical fiber and set up the interconnectivity links needed in all the telecommunication rooms

- Increase the electromechanic capacity as needed

- Configure and replace more than 850 1-Gbps access switches toward the users and 10-Gbps switches toward the distributions in electrical redundancy mode and in virtualization by switch cluster

- Configure and replace ten (10) distribution switches in site redundancy and in virtualization in pairs of two distributions

- Replace all the interconnection modules with single-mode optical fiber

- Install a centralized management console

The budget was respected and the project was completed six months ahead of schedule (it was originally estimated to take 12 months).

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

Many manufacturers now favour virtualization technology, a major asset in increasing system redundancy.

This project had to be completed before we could proceed with the different network upgrade phases. Phase 2 (out of 3) will allow UQAM to install the latest in wireless access points on each floor of the pavilions and go from 30% coverage to full coverage. This installation will offer new ways and means of providing additional educational support.

Quality Impact

Since the installation of the new infrastructures, the network’s reliability, speed and availability have improved.

This has helped eliminate recurring network failures caused by the obsolescence of certain equipment, as well as the regular and costly replacement of their different parts.

Productivity Impact

The reduction/elimination of failures helped guarantee nearly 99.9% network accessibility versus the 85%–90% previously, thus minimizing impacts on the security of people, property and information.

Knowing that all the systems are reliable  (including those related to the security of people, property and information), the researchers and the entire university community always use the institution’s telecommunications network.

The new infrastructures have also given researchers and the entire university community access to a network that is 10 times faster. With the infrastructures in place, UQAM can proceed with the second phase of the project: installing the wireless network and all the next-generation wireless access points (802.11AC Wave 2), which will provide complete coverage across the entire university campus.

This will represent more than 3,500 to 4,000 wireless access points.


The solution UQAM chose makes the network infrastructures more robust. The virtualization used to group a set of access switches into a single cluster facilitates management and minimizes the use of IP addresses.

Moreover, the PowerStack  access switch technology automatically redistributes electric power to all the switches in the cluster when a switch loses power, and ensures better management of the electricity our equipment consumes.

This technology also reduces the number of electrical outlets needed to ensure similar redundancy.

The switches’ external interconnection bus (StackWise) provides ultra-fast data transfer between the cluster’s switches while minimizing the use of 10-Gbps ports, which are then reserved exclusively for connections to the distribution switches (Uplink).

Also, the virtualization of the distribution switches and their site diversity localization reduce the risks caused by Hydro-Québec power outages. It also doubles the bandwidth between the access and distribution switch clusters, which now benefit from 2 x 10 Gbps.

The use of next-generation switches also limits energy expenditure when the devices are not using the network.