Networking & Wireless

Illinois State U Updates Network To Support Classroom Tech

Illinois State University has upgraded its network to the latest 802.11ac wireless technology to support more than 30,000 mobile and wireless devices, including collaboration tools and classroom technology.

With students bringing up to five mobile and wireless devices onto campus, and faculty using Apple TV, Chromecast and other technologies in the classrooms, the university's legacy Wi-Fi network couldn't provide the coverage, reliability and speed that students, faculty, staff and visitors have come to expect, especially in high-density areas. The university's Administrative Technologies department decided to replace its existing wireless infrastructure with 802.11ac wireless technology, which provides faster speeds and higher density than previous Wi-Fi standards.

The university reviewed the available options and selected a solution from Aruba Networks. According to the company, Illinois State chose Aruba for its "ability to handle increasingly high device density, deliver outstanding performance and quickly authenticate device connections on a multi-vendor network."

When complete, the network will consist of Aruba AP-220 Series 802.11ac access points (APs) and Aruba 270 Series Outdoor 802.11ac APs, both of which use Aruba's ClientMatch technology, "which continuously matches mobile devices to the best access points as they roam through the campus," according to the company. The new network will also use Aruba 7200 Series Mobility Controllers, the AirWave Network Management System and the ClearPass Access Management System.

Aruba's AirGroup technology is designed to make it easier to share digital media using UPnP, DLNA, AirPrint and AirPlay technology. According to Ryan Johnston, interim director of infrastructure, operations and networking for Illinois State, the technology will enable professors to wirelessly project media from a tablet and to move freely around the classroom.

The network will also improve access for visiting faculty and conference and event attendees. "We must be able to support their connectivity needs too, and with ClearPass, we can ensure that each user on the network has the proper access privileges based on who they are and what device they are using," said Johnston in a prepared statement.

The university plans to deploy the 802.11ac-based network campus-wide over the next three years.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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