SURF network capacity
In the coming weeks, a large number of staff, students and researchers at our affiliated institutions will be working entirely from home and will be more dependent than ever on a stable internet connection with their own institution. SURF has taken extra measures to guarantee the stability of the network as far as possible.
Expected impact on network capacity
Although affiliated institutions are closing down and students, researchers and staff have to work from home, we expect this will not be a problem for the capacity of the network. Students do not normally use a VPN at the institution, so their regular Internet traffic from home will not run via the SURF-network. As a result, there will probably be even less traffic on the SURF-network.
For staff, the Internet traffic often runs via VPN servers at the institution when they work from home. Our links with Dutch ISP’s are so large, that network traffic between home and the institution will not be hindered. The same applies to the links between the institutions and the SURF network. A potential problem is the capacity of the institutions' VPN servers to support the number of simultaneous users. These are sometimes dimensioned according to the number of people working at home in a normal situation. SURF provides the VPN service (eduVPN) for various institutions and can scale it up if necessary.
Measures to ensure network capacity
So we do not expect a major impact, but we do take a number of measures to be prepared for emergencies.
Minimal changes to the network
By minimising changes to the network, SURF postpones until further notice any work that may cause a risk to the stability of the network. We will assess network changes for individual institutions on a case-by-case basis.
Capacity expansions that can support traffic for the many home users have priority. In addition, we closely monitor the load on our own network and external connections and will expand capacity where necessary.
The monitoring and management of the network will continue without hindrance. The SURF NOC (Network Operation Centre) and the helpdesk are adequately staffed. In the event of service disruptions, we will pick them up as soon as possible.
The health of colleagues and suppliers comes first. The standard is to work from home. For the operation and management of the network, SURF is largely independent of access to physical locations. Many faults can therefore be resolved remotely. An exception applies if the malfunction necessitates the replacement or addition of components. In this small percentage of failure cases, access to a PoP (Point of Presence) will be required from our own or external experts. In that case we are dependent on the PoP owners and the possible changes in their policies due to Corona/COVID-19. Denying SURF or external engineers access to these locations may have consequences for the restoration of the service. SURF closely follows the instructions of and developments at these parties and, if necessary, makes further agreements.