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Hobart and William Smith Colleges Revamp Wireless Network for BYOD

Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) are deploying an Aruba wireless LAN that will allow students, faculty, staff, and guests to use their personal mobile devices to access the HWS network and internet campuswide.

Located in Geneva, NY, on 195 acres in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, the institution of 2,200 students and 700 faculty and staff members will roll out 940 Aruba AP-134 and AP-135 802.11n access points (APs) and Aruba M3 Controller Modules, as well as Aruba’s AirWave network management system. AirWave employs a user-centric approach to monitor network utilization and identify where the network is being accessed, the types of mobile devices in use, and how much bandwidth is being consumed by specific devices. This information will help HWS IT Services forecast future network growth patterns and needs, improve operations, and manage security.

The new 802.11n network replaces an existing 802.11a/b/g infrastructure and aims to cover all learning, work, living, and recreational spaces on campus. A key goal for HWS is to support an open, secure BYOD environment.

“The launch of our next generation wireless network and further enabling a BYOD environment are major objectives in the colleges’ strategic plan, HWS 2015. The goal is to provide students, faculty, staff and visitors with a robust and seamless wireless experience,” said Fred Damiano, chief information officer for Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in a prepared statement. “With the Aruba network, wireless access is available throughout the entire campus--including academic and administrative buildings, student residences, recreational spaces, and outdoor venues. We’ve also been able to expand our BYOD strategy to accommodate the wide variety and increasing quantity of devices our students are bringing onto the network, including smartphones, tablets, e-readers, gaming devices, and televisions.”

To accommodate guests’ wireless needs while protecting the colleges’ intellectual property, HWS will employ a captive portal to vet students, faculty, and staff before directing them to the secure internal private wireless network. The captive portal will provide device-specific instructions to connect using fingerprinting. Visitors to campus will be directed to a public wireless network to connect to the internet.

The wireless LAN will also enable a wide range of applications, including a new cloud-based learning management system that will be piloted this fall and a mobile HWS.EDU site for Apple iOS. Other applications include web-based student, human resource, and finance systems, as well as room scheduling and housing applications.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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