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Stony Brook U Tackles WiFi Bottleneck with 802.11ac in Lecture Center and Sports Complex

Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York, has upgraded its Javits Lecture Center to the latest WiFi standard, 802.11ac, and is preparing to install the technology in its new indoor sports complex.

According to James Hart, director of network services for the university, Stony Brook has experienced a "remarkable increase in mobile and wireless devices on campus," which has placed considerable demand on the university's wireless network. To cope with the increase in demand, the university decided to upgrade to 802.11ac technology, which offers data rates exceeding 1 gigabit per second, as well as improved capacity, radio frequency management, and overall performance compared to its predecessor, 802.11n.

The university's existing wireless network covers the majority of the campus and consists of 3,000 Aruba 802.11n access points, the AirWave Network Management System, and the ClearPass Access Management System, all from Aruba Networks. The university decided to stick with Aruba for the upgrade and has already implemented 44 Aruba AP-225 802.11ac access points (APs) in the Javits Lecture Center and is preparing to implement 35 more Aruba 802.11ac APs in its new Stony Brook Sports Complex. In 2014, the university plans to expand the upgrade to more areas of campus, beginning with the residence halls.

According to Hart, students and staff at the university are enjoying the increased speed and reliability of the new network. The IT department has reported that client devices are achieving speeds of up to 450 megabits per second (Mbps) and that support calls have been minimal since the upgrade.

The faster, more reliable network is enabling professors to make greater use of wireless technology in the lecture halls. They use iPads to project content onto classroom screens and to interact and answer student questions during lectures. According to Mike Ospitale, campus network manager at Stony Brook, the university plans to increase its use of Apple TVs and use Aruba AirGroup to enable students and teachers to access Apple AirPlay and AirPrint on their mobile devices, and the upgraded 802.11ac network will support those capabilities.

Stony Brook University is a public research university located on the North Shore of Long Island. The university serves more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and employs more than 12,000 staff members.

About the Author

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

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