China's Southeast University Upgrades Wireless LANs Across 6 Campuses

Southeast University in Nanjing, China has deployed Aruba Networks WiFi networks across its six campuses. The university, with 26,000 students and 5,600 faculty members, wanted to upgrade wireless service for its many libraries and teaching facilities, but its legacy network was unable to cope with the traffic presented by the fast-growing number of users.

In a presentation about the deployment, the school said Aruba was selected over other vendors because of its superior performance and pricing. Also, the school was attracted by Aruba's ability to support 10,000 access points in a single mobile domain, "making it easy to [deploy] across the university in the future." The presentation also touted Aruba's support of virtual LAN pooling, which can dynamically allocate users among virtual LANs at random, reducing the risk of broadcasting problems caused by too many users residing on the same virtual LAN.

The university installed an Aruba MMC 6000 multi-service mobility controller for centralized management and 256 AP 60 and AP 61 access points running the 802.11a and b/g wireless standards. An additional 200 access points are planned.

"To remain competitive, world-class higher education institutions need to provide world-class wireless mobility solutions for students and faculty," said Ming Xie, general manager of Nanjing Loton Science & Technology Development, Aruba's partner for the wireless campus project. "The legacy wireless network was overloaded by the growing number of portable devices used on the campuses. Aruba's load balancing mechanisms resolved this issue, and proved especially adept at handling video, Blackberry, and iPhone applications. In addition, should an access point be inadvertently disconnected or damaged, the load balancing mechanism automatically fills the coverage hole using adjacent access points. The result is a high performance network with self-healing properties."

Two separate service set identifiers (SSIDs), with different authentication methods and access policies, serve the university's staff and guests. Guests can access the network from anywhere on campus but are restricted with respect to bandwidth consumption, server access, and time of use. Should students attempt to connect unauthorized rogue access points to the university's wired network, Aruba's rogue detection technology detects, locates, and blocks the device.

Aruba Greater China also has wireless networks at Tsinghua University, University of Macau, and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

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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