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U Rhode Island Deploys 802.11n Campus-wide

The University of Rhode Island, with 19,000 students, is deploying an adaptive 802.11n WiFi network from Aruba Networks at its 1,200-acre Kingston campus. According to a statement from the vendor, the university's previous wireless solution had required manual intervention by IT to resolve radio frequency issues, was difficult to troubleshoot, and had limited intrusion detection and access control features.

"Aruba was the only vendor to offer the triple-play we needed: adaptive [radio frequency] management, integrated wireless intrusion detection, and a built-in firewall for role-based access control," said David Porter, the university's director of media and technology services. "We have deployed the first 800 of what we expect to be a total of 1,500 802.11n access points, and ARM basically manages them for us by automatically addressing interference, 802.11b/g client conflicts, and other RF issues. That feature alone offered tremendous relief to our IT staff, who were freed to work on other projects."

Adaptive Radio Management (ARM) is a proprietary architecture from Aruba that optimizes network performance by managing interaction among WiFi clients.

"On the matter of security, we used to restrict access to the network using a very large access control list that was unwieldy to manage across independent access points," said Porter. "Aruba provided a central management interface, with a single access control list, that is automatically pushed to every controller and access point. As with ARM, this feature significantly lowered IT staff workload. And it gave us much finer grained control over user access because we can now control by user, group, service, application, [and] bandwidth consumption, among other parameters."

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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