U Arizona To Optimize Wireless Networks on Campus

The University of Arizona in Tucson said it has begun using wireless LAN tools from AirMagnet, including Survey and Planner, to help optimize and plan wireless networks throughout the campus. The campus includes approximately 115 core buildings and more than 35,000 students. Of those 115 buildings, 70 are currently wireless enabled, encompassing more than 7.5 million square feet. It has 5,000 wireless access points.

"Given the sheer size of our campus, wireless is a vital part of our infrastructure and it allows our students and staff to have unprecedented mobility and access," said Ken Boynton, senior network systems analyst. "To service that network and expand it, we rely on mobile field tools that can give us instant information, allowing us to evaluate problems on-the-fly and maintain or plan high-performance wireless networks."

AirMagnet Survey enables the university to collect live signal, packet, and spectrum data during wireless site surveys in real-time. This allows IT staff to simulate and measure network performance to evaluate a user's experience.
 
With plans for an additional 2,200 access points, the campus is using AirMagnet Planner to plan and deploy new 802.11-based wireless networks. The product offers predictive mapping of wi-fi signals and performance to help staff account for building materials, obstructions, access point configurations, and antenna patterns in the design for the deployment.

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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