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New Orleans Loyola Moves to 802.11n

Loyola University New Orleans has gone public with its deployment of high-speed wireless Internet access using equipment from Meru Networks. Loyola's main campus now has high-performance wireless coverage in 13 facilities, including its residence halls, a student center, its library, academic and administrative buildings, and outdoor spaces. Several state-of-the-art teaching classrooms and all lecture halls are relying on the wireless network to provide students and faculty with network connectivity. The Meru WLAN also provides rogue detection capability to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the network. It replaces a legacy wireless network from Cisco Systems.

"Most students nowadays are coming to campus with wireless laptops," said Joseph Locascio, director of computer and network services for Loyola. "Our research showed that three- quarters of the new laptops on the market have 11n capability. In the few months since students returned to school, we've seen a higher volume of traffic going through the access points than ever before, so we know users are taking full advantage of the 11n support. And since the Meru network is fully compatible with the 11a/b/g standards as well, all types of clients are supported."

The university has installed about 60 Meru AP320 dual-radio 802.11a/b/g/n access points (APs); another 40 will be in place by the end of the school year. Centralized management is being done with the help of two MC3150 controllers. Communications integration firm Cat5 Technology of Hammond, LA provided technical services on the project.

Loyola's IT team evaluated a number of enterprise wireless vendors and found that Meru offered "the best product and performance for the price," Locascio said. "With our many old, thick-walled buildings, we would have needed to deploy three APs from other vendors to get the same coverage we can get with one Meru AP."

The school is managing the wireless network from a central location. "And, because all the APs are placed on a single channel, we don't have to worry about channel interference issues as we would with other vendors' products, where adjacent APs are on different channels," Locascio said.

Loyola has 4,585 students. Its main campus, located in the city's historic Audubon Park district, sits on 24 acres.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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