The University of Tokyo’s network transformation offers end-to-end insights into user experiences across the entire campus, including proactive anomaly detection.

In alignment with the Japanese government’s 10-trillion-yen fund to develop world class research universities, the University of Tokyo (UTokyo) is committed to fostering innovation and excellence in education and research — by embracing dialog, diverse perspectives and experiences.

Established in 1877 as Japan’s first national university, UTokyo’s 48,000 students and staff are actively engaged in learning and research across 10 faculties and 15 graduate schools.

In a comprehensive reassessment of its network infrastructure and the transformation of its operations to facilitate active communication throughout all campus locations, UTokyo was prompted to enhance its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy. A cross-organizational task force was set up to focus on enhancing the wireless network infrastructure, reinforcing its pivotal role in improving students’ and faculty’s educational and research experiences.

Significant emphasis was placed on building a reliable, secure, and high-performing wireless network capable of accommodating large numbers of users, with multiple devices per person on each campus. A major focus was implementing a network solution that offered the diverse task force consolidated management across all departments while giving them appropriate management authority through a single dashboard, enabling a unified view of the entire network, as well as the ability to observe and visualize faults and user experience.

Assoc Prof Junji Tamatsukuri, the university’s deputy general manager of its Information Systems Division: “The network plays a vital role in facilitating access to crucial resources and active communication for our students and faculty. An efficient and user-friendly network is equally important, enabling our team to address issues that may arise swiftly.”

Unified wireless experience

To meet its transformation objectives, UTokyo finally settled on a solution powered by AI (across wired, wireless and SD-WAN domains) that satisfied all required criteria while also featuring rich API-centric architecture that helps IT personnel visualize the necessary data for continually improving operational efficiency.

Upon deploying the solution across its three main campuses in Hongō, Komaba and Kashiwa, the university successfully streamlined network management and operations for the different departments and provided them with a unified view of the entire network on a single dashboard. User experience for the school’s teams and students has significantly improved.

Additionally, the network can now seamlessly support the simultaneous connection of approximately 18,000 devices during peak usage period. The expansion is being carried out progressively, aiming to cover all campuses.

According to Tomohiro Furuya, VP and Country Manager (Japan), Juniper Networks, the vendor selected for the transformation project: “We recognize (UTokyo’s) need for a wireless network that offers consolidated management and visibility into the Wi-Fi user experience across departments and campuses to provide a seamless and more connected campus experience for their staff and students,” adding that he looks forward to helping the university further harness the power of AI in their network infrastructure “to unlock limitless possibilities and achieve remarkable advancements that will shape the future of knowledge and innovation in Japan.”

UTokyo is also actively exploring the potential integration of the firm’s AI network architecture as a fundamental component of the campus IT infrastructure.