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Purdue University Simplifies Wi-Fi with Connection Wizard

Purdue University has implemented a software wizard to help students, faculty, and staff quickly and easily connect their computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets to the campus network. A new XpressConnect Wizard from Cloudpath Networks automatically configures user's wireless devices to connect to the university's secure WPA2 network, called Purdue Air Link (PAL).

Before implementing the XpressConnect Wizard, users had to go through a series of manual configuration steps to connect their devices to the network, a procedure many found confusing and difficult. In an attempt to make things easier for users, Purdue's network engineers wrote step-by-step instructions explaining the configuration process. With the bring-your-own-device phenomenon, the number of operating systems they had to support increased dramatically. It became an administrative nightmare for the team to keep those instruction manuals up-to-date for all the different versions of each operating system, and the users were still having problems getting on the network.

"Trying to keep up the instructions for all the devices coming into the school was an unbelievable challenge," said Brandon Case, network engineer at Purdue University, in a prepared statement. "Most of the trouble tickets and complaints people had for us were regarding the configuration of their machine to connect to the network. It was the biggest stumbling block."

The solution was the Cloudpath Networks' XpressConnect Wizard, which automatically configures wireless devices for WPA2 networks. The network engineers at Purdue customized the XpressConnect Wizard to include their network's public name (SSID), encryption type, and authentication protocol (EAP) type. Now, when students, faculty, and staff members want to connect a new device to the campus network, they simply connect to an open, on-boarding SSID. From there, they can run the XpressConnect Wizard, which guides them through a series of on-screen steps before logging them on to the secure network.

Students, faculty, and staff find the new system easier to use, and it has freed up time for the support desk staff to work on more interesting problems. "I don't hear complaints anymore like 'I can't get on your wireless network' or 'it's a pain to get on your wireless network,'" said Case. "Thanks to XpressConnect, the students and faculty are happy with the university's secure wireless network."

Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. It serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and 8,500 graduate students. The campus Wi-Fi network handles more than 22,000 users and 28,000 devices on a daily basis, with as many as 12,000 users connected at any given moment.

Further information about XpressConnect Wizard is available at cloudpath.net.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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