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Liberty U Launches Campus-wide Wireless IPTV

Liberty University has launched a program to encode and wirelessly distribute multi-channel IP-based video (IPTV) over its high-speed 802.11n wireless LAN. The goal of the program is to provide roaming students with universal access to multi-channel video. Following proof-of-concept deployments in campus dormitories with gear from Aruba Networks and HaiVision Network Video, IPTV has now been rolled out campus-wide.

The university, which has 46,000 local and distance learning students and 2,600 full-time employees, designed its 802.11n network anticipating the deployment of wireless IPTV. Currently, it delivers 15 live TV channels over the wireless network. The network includes more than 770 Aruba 802.11n access points; Aruba's policy-enforcement firewall for identity-based security, quality of service control, and traffic management; and HaiVision's Video Furnace system and InStream client player for multicast video distribution and access to live channels, channels delivered from disk, and video on demand.

"During the proof-of-concept stage, about 300 802.11n access points in dormitories delivered video and high-speed data on a single [service set identifier] (SSID)," said Bruce Osborne, wireless network engineer at Liberty. "We used Aruba's Adaptive Radio Management to steer only 802.11n 5 GHz-capable clients to that SSID. Our 5 GHz Cisco wireless phones also used the 802.11n network, but they operated on a separate SSID. HaiVision's Video Furnace system simultaneously streamed video over WiFi and to set-top boxes over the LAN. Our trials ran successfully for several months prior to our decision to roll-out wireless IPTV to the entire campus."

"Prior to Aruba, Liberty University was using a wired IPTV system, but as with all wired networks it was ill suited to an increasingly mobile user community," said Mark Norris, Liberty's project manager. "When we launched the IPTV project, we were expecting to support between three to five video channels. But with the help of Aruba's field engineers and HaiVision we are now broadcasting 15 simultaneous video channels over our 802.11n network. From their laptops, and independent of their location on campus, students access Liberty's campus channel as well as ABC, CBS, CNN, ESPN, FOX, NBC, and a range of other broadcasters. The results we've obtained have far exceeded our expectations, and could serve as a model for other universities that want to implement wireless IPTV and right-size network infrastructure."

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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