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New Wireless Network to Serve More Than 25,000 Devices Per Day at the University of Miami

New Wireless Network to Serve More Than 25,000 Devices Per Day at the University of Miami
Photo: Business Wire

Faced with a substantial increase in mobile devices within varied academic, research, residential and clinical care environments, the University of Miami and its affiliated health organization, UHealth-University of Miami Health System, are rolling out a wireless infrastructure upgrade with technology from Aruba Networks. The new wireless network will cover 200 buildings and 11 million square feet across the university's three main campuses as well as UHealth's three hospitals and 24 outpatient facilities, serving more than 15,000 students and a fast-growing medical organization.

Key goals include: organization-wide access and mobility; the ability to handle an increasing density of mobile and wireless medical devices; and supporting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.

"Mobility is crucial for all of our institution's academic and medical staff, students, and patients, and strategic to the success of the University and UHealth," said Brad Rohrer, associate vice president and deputy CIO for information technology at the University of Miami, in a prepared statement. "We suspect that more than 25,000 devices are connecting to our network daily and we've seen peaks as high as 18,000 devices simultaneously on the network. The expectation is to keep all of these users connected reliably and without disruption, anytime and anywhere across the entire organization. The infrastructure is absolutely critical in making this happen."

The new network is powered by Aruba mobility controllers, the Aruba 130 Series APs and the AirWave Network Management system. To date, the institution has installed about 2,300 Aruba APs, with another 4,000 planned over the next year. In addition, it is in the process of configuring Aruba's ClearPass Access Management System for guest access, which will also enable BYOD in the future. The university expects to complete 50 percent of the upgrade by the end of the summer, with the remaining areas covered in phases over the next two years.

The wireless infrastructure will enable a number of technology initiatives moving forward:

  • A BYOD policy that will allow students, faculty and staff to self-configure their personal devices to the network without IT involvement, while maintaining security and HIPAA requirements;
  • An electronic medical records initiative, which will rely on the wireless infrastructure in order for various medical devices to communicate; and
  • Microsoft Lync for unified communications, allowing the institution to move away from expensive telecommunications and voice products.

Future plans also include an 802.11ac rollout, to help keep pace with the number and types of devices being used in both the academic and medical environments. According to Rohrer, about 40 percent of additional APs being deployed in the next year will be 802.11ac APs.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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