Provision of state-of-the-art ICT facilities to its faculty, students & administrative staff is the cornerstone for development of NUST Technology Smart Campus (TSC) at Sector H-12 Islamabad. The campus incorporates cutting-edge ICT technologies to provide triple play services (data, voice and video) to the whole campus. This includes Main Data Center (MDC), Campus-wide Fiber Optical Network and Wi-Fi mesh for high-speed data connectivity, video conferencing, IP-telephony with GSM Gateway & IP Fax facility, Smart White Boards, Smart Podiums, Digital Bulletin Board System and various other interactive features for entire campus. Considerable progress has been made in this regard during 2011 in comparison to 2010. Brief account of projects is as under:
NUST Main Data Centre (MDC):
MDC is developed in line with Telecommunication Industry Association TIA-942 tier-2 international standards including raised flooring, redundant HVAC precision units, fire detection, alarm & suppression system, precision UPS & power system, CCTV and access control system for remote monitoring. MDC is acting as hub for dissemination of LAN, Internet, IP-telephony, IP-Fax and Web Services, Server Farm (including Domain Controllers, Backup, Proxy, Email, Web, Network Management, Electronic Bulletin Board, NUST ERP and many more), Video Conferencing and other related services to the entire H-12 Sector users. Compared to 2009, more hardware has been added in MDC in 2010 including additional racks housing additional hardware and servers for provisioning of Wireless LAN Controller, Fax Server, Multi-Conferencing Unit (MCU), and large LCD for network monitoring.
NUST Campus Network Infrastructure:
Network Campus network in is based on n-tier architecture which includes security, core, distribution and access layers. The backbone comprises three upper layers i.e. security, core and distribution as well as primary & backup fiber optic links to server rooms of schools/institutes. This is a hub-and-spoke architecture using routing and switching. Chassis-based core and distribution switches, firewalls and routers with high transmission rate ranging from 01 to 10 Gbps are commissioned. It is pertinent to mention here that device and link redundancy has been maintained at every level to ensure un-interrupted ICT services to users. Gigabit Access Network has also been commissioned to ensure high-speed computing at user level. Access switches of high switching capacity are installed to handle data and multimedia traffic, efficiently. Redundant fiber optic links from each access switch to primary & secondary distribution switches are available for reliable layer-3 connectivity to each LAN user. Switch to user connectivity is provided through top-of-the-line Gigabit Screen Shielded Twisted Pair (S/STP) copper cabling. In order to monitor and manage the whole network, proprietary Network Management Systems (NMS) are being used. Key features of these NMS include but not limited to configuration, fault, accounting, performance and security management of the whole network. During year 2011 up-time of network remained 99.99% as shown in snapshot taken from NMS. In 2011 substantial expansion in campus network was carried out in comparison to 2010 by extending Optical Fiber Connectivity to Main Data Centre and installation of Local Area Network for NUST Main Office, Faculty Cafeteria, Ayesha Hostel, Concordia-II, Attar Hostel B-1, Razi Hostel B-2, CAMP and NICE.
Expansion in LAN nodes with addition of above-mentioned buildings is depicted in the given figure:
Wifi Mesh Network:
Taking advantage of technological advancements, University has implemented Wi-Fi mesh network throughout the campus. Wireless indoor and outdoor Access Points (APs) have been installed to give internet/network access to students, faculty and staff. Internet access has also been provided at all hostels through this network. It employs latest wireless protocol 802.11n with each AP providing a bandwidth up to 300 Mbps to the users. The wireless network installed is the largest in Pakistan. In comparison to 2009, a total number of 145 APs were installed in 2010 making total number of Indoor Access Points to 385. Progress over the last three years in depicted in the following graph:
An integrated, modular, state-of-the-art communication server that supports advanced IP business-class Telephony System are operational that is first of its kind in any local university. Voice over IP (VoIP) system is based on latest Alcatel-Lucent Omni PCX 4400 Enterprise solution providing voice and data over a single network. The system is highly reliable having features such as redundancy in CPUs and power supplies, CLI features, voice mail, Supports IP and PC soft phones, automatic call distribution, call-routing software, call-forwarding, automatic transfer of incoming calls, automated attendant, voice activated management of incoming calls, voice to email conversion, voice conferencing calling, voice guides for external callers etc. System is integrated with Omni Vista Voice Network Management Software. It gives a unified view of the network as well as the necessary functions and features for centralized management, bulk operations, simplicity, and scalability. System also has disaster recovery site in case main IP PABX goes down. A total of 860 users were provided telephone facility in 2011. Graphical depiction of progress over the last 04 years is shown in the following graph:
Initially GSM Gateway with capacity of 16 SIMs has been installed and integrated with Alcatel Omni PCX telephone exchange. This has reduced telephone bills for the entire campus appreciably. The core idea behind cost saving with VoIP GSM Gateway is Least Cost Routing (LCR). Through LCR the GSM gateway select the most cost-effective mobile service operator and check the number which is dialed as well as rate information which is stored in an internal routing table. Because several SIM cards and GSM modules are integrated within the GSM Gateway it is able to make relatively cheaper GSM to GSM/landline calls instead of expensive IP to GSM/landline calls.
Recently, NUST has again taken a lead in implementing cutting edge technology by providing IP Fax facility to all users of Islamabad campus. Internet Explorer is used for composing and viewing fax messages which travel on LAN and are sent and received through IP Fax Server installed in the Telephone Exchange. In 2010 total IP Fax users were 38, in 2011 one more user was provided IP Fax facility for CFO.
Smart devices have been installed to equip our classrooms, seminar halls and conference rooms with most modern technology for effective teaching. These devices are electronic whiteboards and smart lecture podiums. In 2010, installation of smart devices was carried out for SADA, CAMP, RCMS, NICE, NCVI and CIE. Features of these devices are as under:
Smart Whiteboards: Mimio Interactive + Capture have been installed in classrooms having feature to turn ordinary whiteboard into an interactive whiteboard. When used with a multimedia projector, computer applications such as PowerPoint slide shows, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and other software can directly be controlled from the whiteboard. It is perfect for presentations, training / instructional sessions and enables students to be more interactive and engaged.
Smart Podium: The smart podium provides lecturer/presenter one touch control over IT/multimedia facilities (multi-media projector, projection screen, computer, LAN/Internet, audio equipment etc) available in classrooms, lecture halls, seminar halls, conference rooms etc.
Digital Bulletin Board System (BBS):
Bulletin Boards have been installed for the dissemination of information to students, staff, faculty and general public. This system has replaced the conventional notice boards. BBS/Content web server has been installed in the Main Data Centre (MDC) and user rights have been provided to schools / institutes for uploading of information to their Bulletin Boards.
IT and Computing Facilities
NUST offers most modern computing and networking facilities and has the distinction of providing Internet access since early nineties. Gigabit Local Area Networks (LANs) are well established at the Headquarters and constituent colleges / schools / centers. High-speed Internet facility has also been provided to the users through Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN) program of HEC. Computing laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art servers, computers, software and allied equipment, which are also connected through LANs. NUST Intranet has also been established connecting all campuses for information and resource sharing through PERN.
To automate office tasks and to make data available over NUST Intranet, Oracle web-based NUST MIS Software has been implemented. It covers the whole spectrum of activities at the university including admissions, examinations & academics, finance, human resource, research & development, archives, library administration, public relations, etc. An elaborate NUST Website (www.nust.edu.pk) is available for dissemination of vital information to general public, students and the faculty. It has links to the web pages of all constituent schools/colleges/institutes which provides information about the programs and activities of those institutions. A complete online admission/registration system for NUST Entry Test has been provided to the prospective candidates to apply for NUST. This system is available since 2010. Processes namely registration, online payments through credit cards, result announcement and discipline wise selections were made online to the prospective students. To promote paperless environment in the University, following computerized systems are in place:
Electronic Inter Office Note (e-ION) system for official correspondence and task management.
Electronic Mail Tracking System (e-MTS) to maintain mail movement record and location of document (files, letters, faxes, etc).To provide state-of-the-art ICT facilities at NUST new campus at Sector H-12, Islamabad, NUST Technology Smart Campus (TSC) project was initiated and completed during 2008. It incorporates cutting-edge ICT infrastructure to provide triple play services (data, voice and video) to the whole campus. This includes:
Main Data Center
Campus-wide Fiber Optic Network
Wi-Fi mesh for high-speed data connectivity
Smart White Boards
Smart Podiums technology for effective teaching. These devices are electronic white boards, smart lecture podiums and Digital Bulletin Board System (BBS).