Heriot-Watt University

Wide Area Network (WAN) Review

PTS provides Heriot-Watt University with an extensive review of its Wide Area Network (WAN) and makes recommendations to assit the university extend services in Malaysia


The Client, a Scottish University required PTS’s assistance to conduct a review of its Wide Area Network (WAN) provision across its existing campuses, exploring available options in preparation for the development of a new campus in Malaysia. The University needed to ensure that the WAN met the needs of students, researchers and administration and was both cost-effective and robust. PTS reviewed the services for each of the campuses in Scotland and Dubai to give the Client a comprehensive view on the state of the current WAN network and advised on the best approach to extend the network in the Far East.  

Stakeholder Engagement

PTS engaged with stakeholders and conducted a series of interviews with a variety of different end-users, including the networking team, students and departmental representatives. These discussions highlighted opportunities for improvement to support future requirements such as access to video conferencing facilities, network speeds and increased security for inter-campus traffic. 


Service Providers & Regional Regulations

Service providers in each region were reviewed to understand what they provided and what they were capable of producing. This study included public network service provision and also the national and international education network services. PTS also looked into local regulations to ensure that the Client remained compliant with the regulations in each region and that any recommendations made regarding network expansion and suppliers would also adhere to these standards. 


National Education Networks

PTS recommended that the campus in Malaysia and Dubai took advantage of national education networks in each region; these were also connected to regional and international academic networks which permitted global connection to the University’s Edinburgh campus. Doing so would provide the University with the opportunity to become a significant player in the local market, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, where only six other universities were connected to the network at the time.


The Benefits


By engaging PTS on this Project, the Client benefitted from a fully comprehensive and objective overview of the current state of the WAN provision. Recommendations were made regarding service delivery, such as video conferencing and how these could be made available on the existing WAN, mitigating the need for users to create parallel networks and use alternative, less secure, video conferencing tools though it was suggested the Client moved to  IP-based video conferencing. The technical recommendations provided by PTS took into consideration the University’s overall strategic vision and prompted the Client’s IT department to take a more strategic and less tactical approach to IT with a clear vision for the future. Links to the three Scottish campuses have now improved, and the Malaysian campus is now fully operation