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Lewis U Upgrades Wireless Network to 802.11n

Lewis University, a private school in Romeoville, IL, has deployed an extensive Motorola wireless network to provide coverage in classrooms, outdoor sporting arenas, and an airport adjacent to the campus. In place since the beginning of the summer 2008 semester, the new equipment also provides a secondary redundant network in case the campus' wired infrastructure goes down.

In a statement the university said the expansion came about because of a growing need for faster, more advanced applications and the demand from incoming students for high-speed Internet access. The lack of campus-wide coverage and serious network reliability problems meant faculty and students were limited in how they could research, share, and distribute information. Together with Motorola partner Scientel Wireless, the university's IT department made the decision to take the network in a new technology direction by redesigning the wireless infrastructure across campus.

"Having a reliable and secure wi-fi network both indoors and outdoors has enabled our faculty and students to work and study in a different way," said John Dalby, chief information technology officer. "They no longer have to be tethered to a wired connection, making it easier to meet in study groups, quickly connect with faculty members, or access information online."

"By leveraging Motorola's network design tools and field-proven wireless networking technologies, we were able to reduce the previous outdoor infrastructure by 50 percent and the indoor WLAN infrastructure by 30 percent, while extending coverage to new areas across the entire campus. In fact, network utilization has quadrupled since the deployment," said Nelson Santos, executive VP for Scientel.

The technical services company combined several wireless networking technologies to meet the university's requirements while lowering the network's overall footprint. For WLAN indoor coverage in buildings, classrooms and residence halls, The university selected Motorola's AP300 and 802.11n AP-7131 access points, managed by RFS6000 wireless switches. Motorola mesh nodes handle outdoor wireless coverage in common areas and sporting arenas. The network also leverages Motorola's PMP 100 series wireless access hardware for connectivity between buildings, mesh hot spots, and the airport. The campus implemented Motorola AirDefense wireless security to protect the network from data breaches.

The university is expects to leverage the network for future applications, including remote control of heat, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting, or outfitting security cars with cameras and laptops for better situational awareness and communications with the Village of Romeoville police and fire departments.

A Campus Technology webinar covering this deployment will be held April 9. You can sign up for this free online event here.

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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