The Network

Click here to view various diagrams/pictures of the UC2B network.


The 7 UC2B fiber rings perform multiple functions today and allow for unlimited flexibility in the future. Within each of the 7 fiber cables there are actually hundreds of fiber strands, and each pair of fiber strands can support a separate physical network. So within each of the seven fiber cables there is the capacity for hundreds of separate physical networks.

The City of Champaign will have 8 strands of fiber on each of the rings serving Champaign. The City of Urbana will have 8 strands of fiber on each of the rings serving Urbana. A city may elect to use one pair of its fibers for connecting public safety facilities to each other, to METCAD, to the county courthouse and jail, and to the Internet. It may elect to use a second pair of fibers to connect all other city facilities to each other and to the Internet. It may each elect to use a third pair of fibers to connect its library facilities to Lincoln Trail Libraries and to the Internet, and it could elect to use the 4th pair as a spare for testing and future service provisioning.

The main point is that each city will have it own fiber strands to use to meet its needs best as it sees fit. Each city will own and operate the electronics on the ends of those fiber strands. The cities’ fiber-based telecommunications systems will be independent of any technical or operational decisions that the UC2B Policy Board makes. The cities will contribute to the annual maintenance and repair costs of the fiber cables, but other than that, the cities’ systems will operate independently of UC2B or any other UC2B customer. The cites may elect to configure their networks so that they are self-healing rings.

The exact same relationships will apply to Champaign Unit 4 schools and Urbana District 116 schools. Each of those organizations will have four strands of fiber on the rings that serve their school facilities. They can use one pair of fiber strands to connect each of their facilities to each other and to the Internet and leave one pair testing and future applications. They will each own and manage the electronics on the ends of those fiber strands. The schools’ fiber-based telecommunications systems will be independent of any technical or operational decisions that the UC2B Policy Board makes. The schools will contribute to the annual maintenance and repair costs of the fiber cables, but other than that, the schools’ systems will operate independently of UC2B or any other UC2B customer. The schools may elect to configure their networks so that they are self-healing rings.

The University of Illinois will own 4 strands of fiber on most of the rings and eight strands of fiber on the rings that go through the South Farms and through Savoy. The University will use those strands to connect to leased facilities throughout the community, to connect to future buildings that may be built on the south end of campus, and to connect to Willard Airport. The University will own and operate the electronics on the ends of those fiber strands. The University’s fiber-based telecommunications systems will be independent of any technical or operational decisions that the UC2B Policy Board makes. The University will contribute to the annual maintenance and repair costs of the fiber cables, but other than that, the University’s systems will operate independently of UC2B or any other UC2B customer. The University may elect to configure its networks so that they are self-healing rings.

The C-U Mass Transit District (MTD) has purchased 4 fiber stands on select rings. It will use those strands for providing interactive kiosks and security cameras in bus shelters. The MTD will own and operate the electronics on the ends of those fiber strands. The MTD’s fiber-based telecommunications systems will be independent of any technical or operational decisions that the UC2B Policy Board makes. The MTD will contribute to the annual maintenance and repair costs of the fiber cables, but other than that, the MTD’s systems will operate independently of UC2B or any other UC2B customer. The MTD may elect to configure its networks so that they are self-healing rings.

Champaign Telephone Company (CTC) will own 4 strands of fiber on each of the 7 UC2B fiber rings. CTC will use their fiber strands to provide telephone and data services to their customers throughout the community. CTC will own and operate the electronics on the ends of those fiber strands. CTC’s fiber-based telecommunications systems will be independent of any technical or operational decisions that the UC2B Policy Board makes. CTC will contribute to the annual maintenance and repair costs of the fiber cables, but other than that, CTC’s systems will operate independently of UC2B or any other UC2B customer. CTC may elect to configure its networks so that they are self-healing rings.

Initially, there will be 7 separate entities operating their own networks over the UC2B fiber rings. That is before we talk about the UC2B Consortium’s own services. UC2B will offer retail services as well as wholesale services. On the retail side, there will be Internet services for homes, businesses and Anchor Institutions (beyond the city and educational sites mentioned above that will have their own fiber and their own networks.) On the wholesale side, Internet Service Providers will be able to lease transport from their central locations to their customers. Additionally, medical and financial institutions with multiple sites in the community may elect to lease dedicated connectivity between those locations.

All of the rings travel by two central nodes on the U of I campus. That allows any location on any ring to be connected to any other location on any ring by simply patching or splicing the right fiber strands to each other in one of those nodes. With each fiber strand having access to each of the two nodes, UC2B’s redundant core electronics can service each ring, which helps protect against a localized power outage or other problem in one of the nodes.

When looking at the attached UC2B map that shows where the backbone conduits will be located, it is easy to reach the wrong conclusion that there will be 13 fiber rings. The conduits lay out that way to facilitate getting rings as close as possible to the sites that will benefit from having self-healing ringed networks, but there are actually only seven fiber rings that run through that conduit system. The actual path taken by each of the seven fiber rings is also shown on one of the attached maps.

If Urbana grows to the north or Champaign grows to the southwest, spare fibers on the existing rings can be used to create additional rings that reach further out into the surrounding area. Most homeowners and many businesses and anchor institutions do not require self-healing ringed connectivity today, but for those that do, the fiber rings are an important element of the UC2B infrastructure design.