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Colorado State University Upgrades WiFi to 802.11n

Colorado State University has deployed a Xirrus 802.11n WiFi array in several buildings on its Fort Collins campus. The gear is being deployed at the newly constructed Computer Science Building, Morgan Library, Andrew G. Clark Building, and Academic Learning Center. The wireless network will also be installed in a future academic instruction building, expected to open in mid-2010.

"We have had a WiFi network with hundreds of [access points] (APs) for some time, but some of these traditional APs were being saturated as more and more students brought in WiFi-enabled laptops, PDAs, and phones," said Greg Redder, interim director of networking. "Throwing more and more APs at the problem in some of these facilities was ineffective and costly, so we looked around for an alternative wireless solution--something that could support dozens to hundreds of concurrent users and supply enough bandwidth to meet current and future needs."

To see what Xirrus' WiFi arrays could do, the institution had the company bring one array on a portable tripod to support an Obama campaign rally on The Oval, a large open park where thousands participated.

"The WiFi array supported over 200 concurrent users without blinking an eye," Redder said. "This scenario fit well with some of our larger and more concentrated locations on campus. Thus, we are rolling Xirrus arrays across several high capacity buildings, including the newest building on our campus--the Computer Science Building, a four-story, 45,000 square foot facility, comprised of classrooms, lecture halls, three student labs, faculty offices and large meeting areas."

Colorado State has about 25,000 students, 1,450 faculty members, and 4,100 staff members. Its main campus is 581 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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