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Cal State L.A. Implements Campus-Wide 802.11ac Infrastructure

California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State L.A.) has upgraded its wireless infrastructure to 802.11ac. While other California State University (CSU) campuses have begun to implement 802.11ac technology, Cal State L.A. is the first university in the CSU system to deploy it campus-wide.

The university's previous 802.11n wireless infrastructure couldn't meet the demand for indoor and outdoor coverage from its nearly 24,500 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. With the surge in mobile devices and applications being used for academics and communication, the university needed to upgrade to a faster wireless technology with better coverage.

"The growing use of mobile devices on campus, specifically the introduction and fast adoption of the new generation of 802.11ac devices, and the reliance on mobile apps for both academics and collaboration, prompted us to look at upgrading to gigabit Wi-Fi," said Peter Quan, vice president and chief technology officer for Cal State L.A., in a prepared statement.

The CSU system selected a gigabit Wi-Fi solution from Aruba Networks. The university implemented Aruba AP-220 Series 802.11ac access points (APs) and Aruba 270 Series Outdoor 802.11ac APs, both with Aruba ClientMatch and Aruba AppRF technology. ClientMatch "continuously matches mobile devices to the best access points as they roam through the campus" and AppRF "features an integrated next generation mobility firewall that identifies, polices and prioritizes the handling of over 1,500 apps, including cloud and social media apps," according to information from the company.

The university also implemented Aruba's AirWave Network Management System and ClearPass Access Management System. AirWave lets the university identify the connections and mobile devices on the network, as well as how much bandwidth specific devices are consuming. According to the company, this information can help the university "plan for capacity, visualize client performance and troubleshoot connectivity issues." ClearPass provides device registration and authentication, as well as policy management.

Since implementing the new Wi-Fi network campus-wide, the university has reported that 802.11ac devices have been performing at gigabit speeds, and "with ClientMatch, even 802.11n devices are performing three times faster than on the old network," according to a news release from the company.

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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