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U Cincinnati Implements 100 Percent Wireless Coverage on Main Campus

The University of Cincinnati has upgraded its wireless network and now provides secure wireless coverage across its main campus to support more than 38,000 simultaneously connected mobile devices on a daily basis.

The upgrade is part of the university's strategic plan, which aims to provide full-time wireless access to academic tools and resources from anywhere on campus, including residence halls, academic buildings, administrative facilities, and green spaces.

After reviewing wireless local area network (WLAN) offerings from Aruba Networks, Cisco, and Meru Networks, the university opted for an Aruba solution consisting of 4,000 Aruba AP-135 and AP-125 access points (APs), Aruba mobility controllers, the Aruba ClearPass Access Management System with ClearPass Guest, and the Aruba AirWave Network Management System. The university also plans to add Aruba's AirGroup capability to support Apple AirPlay and AirPrint-capable devices, which are increasingly being used in classrooms, common areas, and residence halls. Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions (CBTS) managed the procurement of the WLAN solution.

The university took an unusual approach to evaluating WLAN options. While the IT department reviewed potential solutions, the university also sponsored a senior design IT project, which involved senior design students assessing the university's needs and requirements, researching available options, and testing them. In the end, the students and the IT department both came to the same conclusion and selected the Aruba solution.

The upgraded network will support the increased use of mobile devices on campus. In addition to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, the university is seeing increased use of iPads and Apple TVs for instructional purposes. Starting in the fall of 2013, the university's College of Nursing will require all sophomore students to have iPads, and the entire curriculum is being revamped to use iPads to train nursing students to use the devices the way they are used in real-world hospitals, nursing homes, surgeries, and pharmacies.

The WLAN also provides students, faculty, and staff with anytime, anywhere access to academic and administrative applications, such as its Blackboard learning management system (LMS), OhioLINK digital library repository, UCFileSpace collaborative virtual storage space for students, and the university's electronic textbook (E-text) program. The WLAN also supports the university's participation in EduRoam, a secure, worldwide roaming access service for the international research and education community.

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university in Ohio. It serves nearly 42,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and employs nearly 10,000 faculty and staff.

Further information about Aruba's WLAN solutions can be found on Aruba's site.

About the Author

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

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