Network Automation gets an upgrade at UW-Madison

Just as with other infrastructure on campus, IT infrastructure occasionally needs an update, too. DoIT’s Network Services team has begun automating network software for improvements, and while it likely won’t impact the average online experience on campus, it will offer a better experience to our IT partners. Here’s what you need to know.

DoIT’s Network Services team provides the campus with internet connectivity in addition to cable TV, phones and some messaging services. Network automation is the process by which software automatically configures, provisions, and tests network devices. This project reduces system errors by improving efficiency and reducing the opportunity for human error.

“These upgrades improve the internal software and tools that create a higher level of automation for managing network devices,” said Mark Tinberg, lead engineer for Network Services.

“Before now, we were writing our own code to automate our network software. Now there are better open source software solutions on the market that can replace the hand built scripts.”

As part of their upgrade efforts, the team plans to replace a bespoke system called WiscNIC, a part of the Authorized Agent Networking Tool Suite (AANTS) with NetBox and overhaul our network device configuration management tools. EdgeConf and NetWatch will remain in use.

This will help the university’s IT partners by standardizing processes and reducing discrepancies between different areas on campus. Right now, the project is in the implementation phase and is likely to be completed next year.

If you have questions about the planned updates, please email