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VUIT creates one network for university and medical center

Jun. 30, 2014, 12:01 AM


Vanderbilt University Information Technology has removed a significant limitation to network access and performance by merging two networks – the university network and the Medical Center network – into one.

The VUMC perimeter firewall that once existed between the two networks was moved to secure Internet access for the entire campus.

“By relocating the firewall, we now have a direct path for higher bandwidth applications and high performance computing to access services throughout all of Vanderbilt,” said David Mathews, director of network services. “This allows us to adjust to changes in demand quickly, the complexity of the network is decreased, and a point of failure is eliminated.”

VUIT Network and Security teams worked together to make this complex change through multiple testing and attention to detail, Mathews said.

In addition, Vanderbilt simplified and consolidated its SSL VPN and IPSEC (Internet Protocol Security) VPN environment from five disparate systems down to one VPN system. VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”. A VPN client allows users to connect to the Vanderbilt network via a secure connection encrypted with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). One of the most common uses for VPN is to secure an Internet connection when using unsecured public wireless networks like Wi-Fi hotspots at airports and cafes.

Before this change, users had to manage knowing which VPN application that they needed to use to access certain remote applications. This caused confusion, longer support times and an overall poor-to-mediocre VPN experience, explained Salvador A. Ortega, director of network security. Additionally, desktop support managed multiple clients with conflicting needs or unsupported access.

“This enterprise change has simplified end user experience and desktop support efforts to overall provide a better IT experience for Vanderbilt,” Ortega said.

For questions, comments, problems or assistance, contact the VU Help Desk at 343-9999 (3-9999 on campus) or the VUMC Help Desk at 343-HELP (3-HELP on campus).

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