California State University investing in the future of education

  • Country: United States Of America
  • Industry: Education
  • Solution: Data Center

California State University system makes up the largest four year university system in the U.S. With over 20 campuses across the state servicing nearly 500,000 users, the CSU Chancellors Office recognized the need for a network upgrade and a long-term, transformable, and dependable investment.

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The CSU’s IT network project is a long-term investment strategy, not just a reaction to current budget issues. Alcatel-Lucent equipment provides a simple yet flexible and eco-friendly design using a small number of platforms in diverse roles to maximize best practices across our campuses.

Michel Davidoff, Cyberinfrastructure CSU Chancellors Office


  • The California State University system embarked on a network transformation as part of an eight-year state funded initiative. After 10 years with Cisco LAN switches, CSU filed an RFP. And when the AlcatelLucent Enterprise response addressed the strict technical compliance requirements along with a proposed cost savings of $100 million over incumbent, CSU took notice.
  • The next step was a three-month proof of concept testing and validation of the Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch platform.

Products & Solutions

User Experience Benefits:

  • The selection and standardization of best of breed products for WLAN, Firewall and LAN switch has optimized the IT/network services delivery, cost and as result, the user experience. There has been budget for new increased port speeds, new POE types, new LAN services, next generation firewalls and next generation WLAN evolution. All the network elements have stayed state of the art even with budget constraints and the user experience has been enhanced by every element of the network.

Technical Benefits:

  • Many backbone, server and border router connections have been upgraded to 10Gbps resulting in faster downloads, less latency, less time to do backups, and less congestion. Most important is the benefit to be able to introduce more services like video, unified communications, CCTV (security IP cameras), high definition TV in the network and BYODs devices.
  • Many edge switch ports have been upgraded to POE/POE+, eliminating the need for extra power supplies and cabling to WLAN access points and VoIP handsets.

Financial Benefits:

  • Cal State’s goal was to assure the network was current and flexible, while supporting objectives of academia and administration. The functional requirements included operational simplicity, low total cost of ownership (TCO), minimal operating systems and command line structures, and a commitment to standards.
  • The winning bid from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise saved and estimated $100 Million from the Cisco bid, while delivering fully on the requirements.
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