Rocky mountain biological lab
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Rocky Mountain Biological Lab. Networks and Services. RMBL. A research field station established in 1928 Scientists from around the world migrate there during the summer Provides logistical support and infrastructure to field scientists and students

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Rocky Mountain Biological Lab

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Rocky mountain biological lab

Rocky Mountain Biological Lab

Networks and Services

Rocky mountain biological lab


  • A research field station established in 1928

  • Scientists from around the world migrate there during the summer

  • Provides logistical support and infrastructure to field scientists and students

  • Longest continuously studied alpine environment in the world

  • Supports more than 75 scientists/researchers and over 150 students annually



  • Two core data networks supporting students, researchers and staff

  • Remote weather station network that continuously monitors climate in the West Elk mountains and down to Almont

Core network

Core Network

  • Internet connection is a DS3 (44.736Mb/s) connection to Internet Colorado using point to point radio links

  • 15 usable public IP addresses for external devices

  • Core network consists of 4 wired Cisco 3560 switches

Core topology

Core Topology

Wireless network

Wireless Network

  • Initially installed during the 2012 season

  • 24 wireless access points (WAP) with 2 new WAP’s on order

  • Originally designed as a Mesh network

  • Provides coverage to 35 buildings and most areas outside

  • Gigantic improvement over the legacy networks that were installed piecemeal over the past 15 years

802 11n client access point

802.11a wireless backhaul

Internet Colorado’s Hardware:

802.11n client access point

Wireless topology

Wireless Topology

Weather stations

Weather Stations

  • 5 permanent stations and 6 portable stations

  • Each station logs up to 3 years of data in a CSV format

  • Central server polls each station every 15 minutes and downloads their logs via public frequency radio network (2.4Ghz)

  • Each station measures:

    • Temperature

    • Humidity

    • Barometric Pressure

    • Precipitation

    • Snow Depth

    • Wind Speed/Direction

    • Radiation

Snodgrass site selection

Snodgrass Site Selection

Judd falls and snodgrass

Judd Falls and Snodgrass

Network management

Network Management

  • SpiceWorks Network Management Suite

  • Networking Features:

  • Remote Monitoring (Alerts if an interface goes offline)

  • Bandwidth Usage Reports

  • SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

  • Monitoring or managing a group of hosts or devices on a computer network



It issues

IT Issues

  • Spanning tree protocol doesn’t work well with Mesh networks

    • Mesh network created broadcast storms that would take down the core network every three days

  • Upgraded wireless network in 2012 to give coverage to areas that weren’t previously covered (kept the old T1 1.544 Mb/s internet connection

    • Saw a significant increase in complaints due to slow internet connection speed (nothing about better network connectivity)

  • Upgraded the internet connection in 2013

    • Saw a significant increase in complaints due to connectivity problems and internet connection speed

    • Consistently using the speed buffer built into our connection (ISP provides a 5Mb/s buffer bandwidth during peak hours)

  • Implemented content filtering to prevent excessive use of video streaming/downloads by student during peak times

    • Saw a significant increase in complaints by staff and researchers due to their inability to access sites they saw as critical

  • Public spectrum wireless network limits the configuration options

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