Washington State University Deploys Zhone FiberLAN in Residence Hall

  • Zhone Technologies
OAKLAND, CA — Washington State University (WSU) embarked on a long-term initiative to build and update its housing facilities and faced numerous challenges, including the high cost of installing new Internet infrastructures. For a more cost-effective solution, WSU selected FiberLAN from Zhone Technologies for its Global Scholars Hall, a new residential building on campus. WSU realized a savings of $630,000 by deploying the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) FiberLAN solution compared to a traditional copper network like they had used in another residence hall.

In a case study titled "WSU Saves Half a Million Dollars Using FiberLAN GPON" Wallace Chase, director of networking for WSU, articulates how the FiberLAN GPON solution enabled the university to provide busy students triple-play services in the Global Scholars Hall and save $630,000. Now, WSU can upgrade multiple buildings using the same amount of funding it would have taken to cable one building using a traditional copper system due to the scalability and cost-effective nature of fiber.

"The cost savings is dramatic, especially when you start to get into larger buildings," noted Chase. "When we compared the final costs of the two newest residence halls, Northside and Global Scholars Hall, we saw a savings of nearly $630,000 with the Zhone GPON solution compared to copper. That equates to a 44 percent savings, which are real dollars that we can put back into other improvements."

PowerCom, a Washington-based telecommunications infrastructure design company, worked with Zhone to design the FiberLAN GPON network for the Global Scholars Hall. The case study outlines the following aspects of the deployment:

  • Northside's Copper LAN infrastructure cost the university nearly $4,700 per bed in the 302-bed facility. With the FiberLAN GPON implementation in the Global Scholars Hall, the cost per bed was reduced to approximately $2,900.

  • The fiber-based network design is a highly future-resistant infrastructure that allows WSU to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

  • With FiberLAN, software for the system can be controlled remotely, removing the need for IT staff to travel when error corrections or upgrades to the system are required.


"We've got old copper wires that are starting to fail; moving forward, we're going to remove 99 percent of our copper and replace it with fiber," says Kevin Imel, information systems manager for WSU. "Part of the selling point of fiber is we put it into the walls once and we don't ever have to go back in and replace it. Replacing copper is simply too cost prohibitive."

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