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IP Numbers for Utilnet-Connected Devices

Background

Utilnet is the name for a virtual network of ethernet-connected devices that need to be kept separate from the 'normal' campus network. Separation is needed either for security reasons or to enable dedicated bandwidth to be allocated to specific devices. Devices connected to Utilnet so far include Building Management Systems (eg Trend), Access Controllers (eg Salto), CCTV recorders (eg Panasonic WJ-xxxx series), AV equipment, tills, etc etc.

Cabling for Utilnet devices is just the same as other networked devices (eg printers, PCs) in so far as it is normal Cat6 (or similar) twisted-pair data sockets with RJ-45 modules patched to network switches. A data socket is configured to be on Utilnet by the configuration of a particular VLAN ID to a network switch port. This switch-port configuration is straightforward and can be done remotely.

As there is no unusual technology used to implement Utilnet the costs of providing an Utilnet connection are the same as for a normal network connection. However Utilnet is separated from the normal network via a firewall device running on a Sun server. The firewall currently in use is a lower-specification one than is needed and hence the ability to pass data from Utilnet to the normal network is somewhat restricted.

IP numbering

All devices connected to Utilnet need an IP number. These IP numbers are not the same as the usual 143.53.*.* range used at Bradford. Utilnet is a subnetted network and different ranges of IP numbers will be used for different buildings. There is also a distinction between IP numbers in the same building that might be allocated to, for instance, a lock controller and a till. That is due to the need to further enhance security. As per the normal network IP numbers are allocated by LSS and a job will need to be raised to go to IT Servicedesk to initiate this procedure. That procedure is outlined below.

Steps for obtaining IP number

  1. Collect information about connection. This includes data socket number to which device is to be connected; building name and floor, what sort of device it is.
  2. Email this information to itservicedesk@bradford.ac.uk asking for an Utilnet IP number for the particular device (or devices; one job can ask for as many IPs as needed within reason).
  3. IT Servicedesk will enter a job onto the helpdesk system and an email will be sent back to the person originating the request. This job will have a reference number in of the form QG270012. All further communication with anyone in LSS about this particular request must quote this job number, so it would be good practice to pass on the job acknowledgement email to other colleagues or contractors who will be get involved.
  4. LSS staff will enact job. First stage is to check data cabling contractor has finished cabling work and provided documentation for installation. If not job will be put on hold until this is done. If as part of a programme of work data cabling is being installed the importance of providing cabling documentation to LSS in a timely manner cannot be stressed enough.
  5. Assuming everything in stage 4 is ok an IP number or numbers will be generated and relevant network equipment will be configured. In most cases a subnet mask and gateway will be provided along with an IP number.
  6. The IP numbers allocated will be logged in the job, along with other relevant information, and also sent back to the job requestor via email.
  7. Job will be closed.

Notes

  • Time to carry out the above procedure under normal circumstances is five working days assuming everything mentioned in stage 4) has been completed.
  • IT Servicedesk will not deal with contractors unless by prior arrangement. In other words we will only accept IP number requests off University staff. Having said that anyone anywhere can look at RMS helpdesk jobs as mentioned in note b). So a contractor could find out an IP number if they know the job number.
  • Suspected faults with connections for Utilnet devices should be reported to IT Servicedesk. It is mandatory that the LSS RMS job reference number issued when the installation of suspected faulty device is included in the job as that will speed diagnosis. Therefore the onus is on the person(s) requesting installation work to note the relevant job number and to communicate that to others who may find themselves reporting a fault.