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Ohio University Moves to High-Capacity Wireless LAN

Ohio University is deploying a new 802.11n wireless local area network (LAN) with 135 wireless access points to accommodate the explosion of mobile devices accessing the network.

The university found that its existing multivendor 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN couldn't handle the increasing number of devices, as many as 32,000 at a time, or the high density of users in classrooms, residence halls, and other common areas.

"Wireless is by far the most popular access method on our campus and students are bringing more mobile devices to campus than ever," said Brice Bible, chief information officer for Ohio University, in a prepared statement. Students at the university use an average of two wireless devices each, and faculty and staff use even more.

After a successful pilot deployment in five campus buildings, the university committed to installing an Aruba wireless LAN solution across its 1,773-acre main campus and five regional campuses. The new wireless LAN will include 4,500 Aruba AP-105, AP-124, and AP-135 access points and 16 Aruba M3 controllers, as well as Aruba's AirWave network management system for monitoring, reporting, and network control.

The new wireless LAN will support greater use of wireless devices on campus. Ohio University uses wireless technology for enhanced learning activities in the classroom, for distance learners accessing on-campus classes through Web conferencing sessions, and for mobile access to the library's catalog and digital materials. The university's Academic Research Center was designed to use the 802.11n wireless network technology to provide students with access to virtual labs, class content, and collaboration tools, and the university's student center uses the wireless LAN for secure point-of-sale transactions. The IT department is also "developing a complete mobile application strategy to fully leverage the new Aruba WLAN," according to Aruba.

The university reported it plans to extend wireless access to its athletic facilities in February 2013 and to all locations on all campuses by January 2014.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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