Ferrum College Enrolls Juniper Networks To Extend 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Ferrum College in southwestern Virginia has chosen to replace its campus-wide legacy Cisco network infrastructure with Juniper Network switching, network access control (NAC), and firewall/virtual private network (VPN) solutions. The college chose the new equipment after deciding to extend 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) throughput across the network in support of advanced voice over IP (VoIP) by fall 2009.

Enrollment at the college has grown significantly in the past five years. Likewise, new academic programs, the addition of an experiential three-week term, new residence halls, and renovated classrooms have all escalated demands on the network infrastructure. The college's expansion has also heightened the technology security concerns posed by a proliferation of student personal communications devices.

"To keep pace with and manage our growth, we're increasing our delivery of online course materials to support continuous learning, augmenting our learning management solutions, and plan to deploy voice-over-IP next year," said Christine Stinson, CIO. "Our selection of Juniper Networks to replace our existing network infrastructure was driven by Juniper's ability to improve network performance, improve reliability, and decrease maintenance costs in line with our continued expansion."

The Juniper Networks EX 4200 and EX 3200 series switches will serve as the backbone of the new network. The Juniper Networks EX-series switches' ability to support 15.4 watts of Class 3 Power over Ethernet (PoE) on all 48 ports (versus 24 ports in competing switches) was "one of the most important items" in Ferrum's decision, according to Stinson. "Other switches have software that helps moderate power usage, and can be enhanced with subsequent hardware purchases, but the Juniper switches will meet our expected VoIP needs right out of the box, while consuming 15 to 30 percent less power than the competition."

Ferrum is also deploying Juniper's Secure Services Gateway (SSG) firewall/VPN appliances, for LAN/WAN connectivity and security for regional and branch office deployments. Also, the college will deploy the Juniper Infranet Controller 4000 (IC4000), a policy management server that acts in tandem with the Juniper Unified Access Control (UAC) solution. The UAC provides access control and policy enforcement across Ferrum's extended enterprise.

"Today's students depend on an increasingly diverse collection of networked devices as part of their campus and learning environment," Stinson said. "Juniper's integration of security into their solutions--'from the inside, out'--helps us balance the heavily increasing demand for network access with rigorous policies for maintaining network security."

Ferrum College also faces increasing demand for differing network access privileges for different users. "With our old, un-segmented network, ensuring unified and secure access has proven difficult," Stinson said. "Moreover, if one element of the network goes down, it all goes down. Juniper's modular architecture, based upon JUNOS software, will bring us the reliability, resilience and maintenance we require to scale our network in line with our growth."

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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