Campus-wide Wireless Project Kicks Off at University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota announced it plans to deploy the Trapeze Networks Smart Mobile 802.11n wireless network product suite campus-wide. Beginning in May and continuing over the next five years, about 9,500 access points will be deployed to serve more than 80,000 people across the university's two campuses, in an effort to deliver secure wireless access to users wherever they are on campus.

"The University of Minnesota strives to be on the cutting edge of technology to provide students and faculty with the tools they need to succeed," said Steve Cawley, the university's VP and CIO, information technology. "After a rigorous RFP [process] and evaluation of 24 WLAN responses, we determined the Trapeze solution was the right fit to meet the university's performance and security requirements. Additionally, the network management and planning tools allowed us to quickly import our own CAD drawings and immediately begin WiFi planning for 300 buildings, including 1,300 plus floors."

The U of M Twin Cities Campus sits on 1,204 acres at two campuses. The Minneapolis Campus straddles the Mississippi River and is connected to the St. Paul Campus by a university-owned bus route more than two miles long.

Once the network is in use, users will be able to click on a building within Google Earth and similar applications and choose a specific floor to see if wireless coverage exists.

The new network will also let the campus prepare for wireless bar code ticket scanning at its new football stadium (opening in fall of 2009) to speed up gate entry and protect against counterfeit tickets.

The university's existing WiFi network grew from a series of small pilot projects deployed by several departments. The Trapeze implementation will unify the entire wireless network, allowing administrators to do central management of the network.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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