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Kansas University Deploys All-802.11ac Wireless Network

Fort Hays State University in Kansas has built a new wireless network based entirely on all-802.11ac technology from Aruba Networks. The network will support classroom technologies such as streaming video as well as the proliferation of mobile devices on campus.

Replacing the university's existing 802.11n infrastructure, the new network is comprised of:

FHSU's previous network could not provide enough speed and bandwidth for the growing number of mobile devices being used at the university. It was also unable to provide detailed information on network activity and the types of devices being used — which the IT department viewed as a critical performance and security issue.

"Aruba's 802.11ac solution allows us to support all the laptops, smart phones and tablets that our students are bringing to class, while also enabling our faculty to stream HD video or display high definition content on classroom projectors," said Derek Johnson, data communications coordinator for FHSU, in a prepared statement. "Several of our professors like to be on the 'bleeding edge' of classroom technology. Since rolling out the new Aruba infrastructure, these instructors have felt confident relying on the network to incorporate new educational tools into their lesson plans."

Since the deployment, 802.11ac laptops at the university have been performing at speeds up to 180 Mbps, and 802.11n devices have nearly doubled their speeds in some cases, according to Aruba. Since smartphone performance has also improved with the new network, FHSU is seeing more people connecting their phones to the WiFi network, rather than the cellular network. "While our students used to rely on 4G because it was faster than our old network, they are now connecting to the Aruba 802.11ac network and are telling us how pleased they are with its speed and reliability," said Johnson.

FHSU plans to expand the network with additional Aruba AP-225 access points to address growing device density in academic buildings and to support the campus's newest building, which will open in August 2014. Once the new building is online, FSHU will have over 500 APs deployed. The University is also planning to implement Aruba's AirWave Network Management System and is considering Aruba AirGroup to manage Apple AirPlay traffic growth.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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