The finished product of the Woodroffe campus telecommunications lab. Photo credit: Chris Carroll

Algonquin College has partnered with Ciena Corporation, a global networking systems, services and software company, to bring a state-of-the-art telecommunications lab to the Woodroffe campus, providing students training with the equipment that powers most internet traffic.

The lab was completed in August 2020 and is open to all students in the optical systems and sensors portion of the information technology program.

The students enrolled in the optical systems and sensors arm of the bachelor of information technology program, in partnership with Carleton University, will have access to the same systems used by the Ottawa based data storage networking company.

Ciena currently employs 1,800 people in Ottawa. Among them are 120 Algonquin college graduates.

“We couldn’t be more grateful for Ciena’s contribution, they have been a wonderful partner for close to a decade,” said Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College. “This will ensure our current and future learners have access to the latest and greatest technology – and position them to find employment and long-term career success in the tech sector.”

The partnership with Ciena began back in 2012, and it is the hope of the partners that the new lab will bring increased interest in the program. The upgrade to the lab includes twenty computer stations the students use to program, control and monitor the photonic systems they design as part of their lab assignments.

Along with offering graduates the skills they need to find work with telecommunications companies, Ciena also has its research and development lab based in Ottawa, deepening its ties to the capital city and the students who study here.

The importance of telecommunications infrastructure became widely apparent in recent months as the COVID-19 pandemic urged companies and schools to shift to remote learning.

“Ciena is proud to equip the Algonquin lab with technology deployed by many of the world’s largest service and cloud providers,” said Rod Wilson, Ciena’s chief technologist of External Research Networks. “We know firsthand that applied skills help tremendously with both learning and career opportunities.”