Hertford Regional College Boosts Mobile Coverage
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Hertford Regional College in the United Kingdom has deployed Agito Networks' RoamAnywhere Mobility Router to improve phone service for staff. The college, which has about 12,000 students and 900 staff, is finalizing a $140 million construction project to update its facilities, including a sizable story building that blocks cellular coverage indoors.
RoamAnywhere provides a means to gain seamless phone coverage by routing calls between WiFi and cellular when within range.
The initial rollout was to staff in network services, security, and maintenance who are mobile and don't always have access to a fixed-line phone. The next rollout is planned for teachers in the spring, with students potentially to follow.
"We had a one-day set up and it was easy for technicians to deploy to users' dual-mode phones," said Daniel Hidlebaugh, network services manager at the institution. "The handover inside and outside is very slick, the voice over WLAN quality is good, and it works seamlessly on mobiles acting as extensions from Cisco Call Manager, providing all the features as if users were on a desk phone."
"Now we can't do without our Agito system. After one day it became a must have," he said. "Coverage was a concern before, but now we can reach each other at all times. Everyone is benefiting from this, and we no longer have to spend over an hour trying to find someone."
An added benefit, Hidlebaugh, said is that the college was looking to reduce its $6,000 in telephony charges each month. As a result of this deployment, he estimates the college will cut its monthly mobility charges in half.
The college learned about Agito Networks from Andrew Dominic, a senior sales consultant at Convergis, one of Agito's resellers.
"Agito Networks was an easy choice for all," said Dominic. "The college already had a solid, voice-ready network available. With Cisco [voice over IP] and campus-wide Cisco Unified Wireless LAN already deployed, the Agito RoamAnywhere was the logical additional hardware requirement."
In addition to Agito's Mobility Router and Cisco's WLAN and IP-PBX, the college has deployed Nokia handhelds and subscribes to T-Mobile cellular service.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.