With a mission to transform lives and inspire change, the University of Northampton aspires to help its students be the best they possibly can be.

Recognising that today’s students are networked individuals, consuming information in constantly evolving ways, the university has selected Cisco to help ensure that its new campus is digital, intelligent and highly secure from the outset.

The university’s new £330million Waterside campus, set to open in September 2018, will be a brand new university, purpose built to meet the changing requirements of students. From the Wi-Fi used by students and teachers, to a network that can understand and fulfil intent with machine learning, the technology interwoven in the new physical campus will support new ways of teaching and learning, further positioning the University of Northampton as a digital leader in Higher Education.

With actionable visibility into everything that happens on its network, even in identifying threats in encrypted traffic, the University is creating a digital foundation that will help it rapidly evolve with the pace of technology change.

Rob Palfreman, Head of IT Services, University of Northampton commented: “The requirements of our students are entirely different from even ten years ago. We have to move away from the traditional approach of just delivering ‘broadcast’ style lectures, and start to engage in new ways through our collaborative Active Blended Learning teaching model. We believe that technology is the disruptor that will help us do that, which is why we have chosen to work with Cisco to embed the digital into the physical from the outset.”

He continued “The infrastructure that we are deploying with Cisco will give us the ability to see and solve issues before they happen, to support the ambition of our students and to ensure that as a business we are competitive in our industry. Cisco has worked closely with us from the start, and we are delighted with what we have been able to achieve collectively so far.”

Martin Butler, Head of Further Education, Cisco UK & Ireland said, “Technology that learns and adapts is not just a thing of the future; a network driven by intent understands what you need to achieve and makes it happen. For the University of Northampton, the connectivity, automation and simplified management of an intent-based network will allow them to focus on delivering the best possible experience for their students, with the knowledge that their network is highly secure, built for purpose and programmable at the click of a button. This network will create a foundation for the university, so it can meet the needs of students today and into the future.”

He added: “It’s been a fantastic journey, and we’re excited to be helping the University realise their ambition in the new Waterside campus.”
Intent-based networking represents a fundamentally different way of building and managing modern networks. The integrated system anticipates actions, is able to stop security threats in their tracks, and continues to learn, adapt and evolve. The University of Northampton is deploying key elements of Cisco intent-based networking technology, including:

  • Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches will lay the foundation for advanced network management and security capabilities to allow the university’s IT teams to address ever-changing threats and simplify the complexity created by pervasive mobility, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Cisco Aironet wireless access points will allow the university to keep up with bandwidth demands from the growing number of wireless devices and applications. Covering all indoor and outdoor spaces across the university campus, the wireless network can also be used to build new applications for students and staff using location-based services.
  • Cisco DNA Center will provide the command and control center for Cisco intent-based networks. It will provide a clear view of everything and everyone on the network through a ‘single pane of glass’, with insight and analytics into each user, device and application, regardless of where they are.
  • Cisco DNA Center Assurance dramatically reduces the time and money IT spends troubleshooting by delivering 360-degree visibility across all users, devices, and applications across the network.
  • Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) will help the university’s IT teams radically simplify the design, provisioning and management of their wired and wireless network. By automating business intent across the entire network, SD-Access reduces manual errors and delivers a more consistent experience for users.
    Encrypted Traffic Analytics will use network analytics and machine learning to ensure the university has insight into threats in encrypted traffic, without the need for decryption.
  • Cisco Stealthwatch will provide the university with real-time analytics for all network flows traversing the campus, assisting the IT team to discover anonymous traffic and to help remove this from the network.
  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) will be deployed across the university’s two main sites to provide robust east-west firewalling and micro-segmentation of their data centre workloads, including automation of hypervisor virtual networking to improve end to end visibility.