Networking & Wireless | News

Community College Plans BYOD and Online Learning Upgrade to WLAN Infrastructure

Parkland College will upgrade to a new wireless LAN network and management system in an effort to enhance online learning and connect its 18,000 students, 1,200 faculty and staff, and campus visitors.

To accommodate the growing use of mobile devices on campus and support their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiative, the Champaign, IL-based community college will implement Aruba Network's wireless LAN and the Aruba ClearPass Access Management System designed to allow mobile devices to securely connect to a network.

The new wireless network will comprise Aruba Mobility Controllers that incorporate several AP-105, AP-134 and AP-135 access points, Aruba’s AirWave Network Management System for maintenance and troubleshooting, and the Aruba ClearPass Access Management System to provide guest access to campus visitors. Remote access points (RAPs), which are designed to cut costs by maintaining connectivity to remote sites, will be used for a variety of applications, including extending the college's secure services to home offices.

The new wireless LAN will also support Parkland's online learning application Desire2Learn, an online course platform that provides course materials, communication between students and teachers, video, and testing.

In addition, Parkland is currently working on a pilot research program with the University of Illinois using the WLAN network to develop a graphical 911 system for college campuses. The application allows students to receive emergency help based on their proximity to access points in the network. The application is expected to launch by the end of the school year.

 “With an average of two mobile devices per student and about 1,000 concurrent devices on the network, performance and reliability are critical,” said Doug Brooks, associate director of campus technologies for Parkland College, in a prepared statement. “Aruba delivered all of this, along with top-notch support. We’re now getting glowing reviews on the wireless network from our students.”

Approximately 18,000 students annually attend Parkland College, a two-year community college located in Champaign, IL. Parkland's 255-acre main campus is close to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and accessible to the 54 communities it serves.
The school's operating budget for 2012-2013 is estimated at $51.5 million.

Aruba Networks provides network access systems for mobile devices. For more information, visit arubanetworks.com.

About the Author

Sharleen Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Springfield, Oregon. She can be reached at snelson858@comcast.net.

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