The Howell City Council met Monday night and approved the purchase of what was referred to as a very important piece of equipment that will boost reliability for the City’s high-end network.

Council approved the acquisition of a new network switch, which will replace an old one that is beyond its "end of life" cycle. The equipment is said to be vital to the current network infrastructure as it connects the City of Howell, the City of Brighton, Livingston County and recreation facilities back to the Howell City Hall server room. It provides access to file systems, emails, phones, archive information, data back-ups and the county law enforcement system.

The new switch will replace a piece of equipment that is eleven years old. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI the typical life expectancy is usually five to six years, so they’ve been pushing it. The new piece of equipment has much greater capacity and Charles says the switch helps begin the transition to ten gigabit speeds in the future. The City is currently running a gigabit network between buildings and will be able to go to ten gigabits. Charles says the greater bandwidth offers enhanced capabilities with some new technologies such as GIS and others and allows for future expansion on IP components. The new machine will be under warranty. It was noted that in the unlikely event of some sort of failure, parts can be found much more easily than the current piece of equipment.

Part of the cost is being allocated with the City of Brighton. The City of Howell will contribute $18,940, with Brighton expected to chip in $11,174. The two municipalities have had an IT partnership for the last several years and share an IT director as well as a shared data center, which Charles says allows them to host many servers on one set of equipment. He says the partnership has really helped both communities save quite a bit of money on IT infrastructure over the last several years, providing high quality services at a much lower price. The allocation of cost is determined based on the number of users, and since Howell has a higher number of users, it has a higher allocation. If the Brighton City Council approves the request at this Thursday’s meeting, then Charles says they’ll move forward with the acquisition. (JM)