Proud of its 140-year history, Aoyama Gakuin University relocated its campuses to Aoyama and Sagamihara in 2013. As of today, the Aoyama campus has 7 Humanities and Social Science Departments with 15,000 registered students, while the Sagamihara campus has Science and Technology and Social Information Departments with approximately 5,000 students. The university consists of 9 undergraduate departments, 12 graduate schools, and more than 20,000 students in total. In recent years, the dramatic increase in usage of smartphones and tablets on campus have put an unpredicted amount of stress on the university’s existing wireless LAN infrastructure, resulting in slow or poor Wi-Fi connectivity. How did Aoyama Gakuin University Institute of Information and Media overcome this challenge and provide reliable wireless connectivity for such a large student body?
Considering the changing communication environment and the increase in mobile device usage, Aoyama Gakuin University realized that its existing wireless LAN infrastructure needed to be expanded. However, providing a reliable wireless environment for over 20,000 students was not an easy task. In addition to controlling the total cost of ownership, the deployment was expected to be both time-consuming and difficult. Therefore, Aoyama Gakuin University hoped to find a solution that could provide reliable wireless access under a limited IT budget?
The Institute of Information and Media, which is in charge of the operation and support of the IT infrastructure on campus, came up with a comprehensive proposal. Since the last equipment renewal in 2009, the institute has been asked to improve the wireless network on campus. Mr. Mishima, an Assistant Professor of the Institute of Information and Media, recalls the situation:
“There were strong demands from faculty members regarding the expansion of the wireless LAN. Some even made comparisons between us and other schools. The equipment renewal of the school takes place every 5 years. Last time in 2009, we deployed some wireless access points (AP), but only in certain public areas such as cafeterias and common rooms where lots of students gather. Since professors and students have been increasingly using notebooks or tablets in lectures, they want a wireless LAN environment with high performance.”
In order to address these issues, the university moved forward the wireless infrastructure upgrade that was originally scheduled for 2014. However, there were several concerns regarding the implementation, such as the total cost of the equipment and how the APs would be distributed to provide optimal coverage. “There are some buildings or floors without Ethernet cabling, causing restrictions for wireless LAN deployment. We thought about the possibility of laying Ethernet cables, but were forced to abandon that idea due to limited budget.”
Despite the concerns, the project had to proceed and a solution was needed. Therefore, Mr. Sakata, a Research Associate from the Institute of Information and Media and a close associate of Mishima's, consulted with NTT Advanced Technology Corporation (NTT-AT), one of the companies selected as a candidate for the wireless LAN deployment. According to Sakata, the responses from NTT-AT were extremely surprising.
“Firstly, I asked about the deployment in classrooms. The number of APs and the plan given in their timely reply really amazed me! The floor plans of the buildings were available on the school website for reference, and they made full use of them, not only simulating the structures of the buildings, but even calculating radio wave interference to decide where the APs should be deployed. I never imagined that this was possible! Of course there was an on-site investigation, but the results were almost the same as the original suggestions. We felt that when compared with other vendors, NTT-AT really distinguished itself by demonstrating the know-hows of wireless LANs.”
After consulting NTT-AT, Aoyama Gakuin University felt more optimistic about the deployment. Therefore, the last remaining issue was how to increase wireless coverage while staying within the budget limit. Once again, NTT-AT had a fitting solution. “The proposed 4ipnet wireless APs [EAP320] were very attractive in terms of cost performance. Therefore, we were able to increase the number of APs without exceeding the budget, and extend the Wi-Fi coverage expansion beyond what we had originally imaged. Moreover, in the locations without wired cabling, the APs can be connected to each other via wireless links*1. Lastly, we realized that it is possible deploy more APs when necessary, as the network is very scalable.” After NTT-AT was asked to carry out the deployment, the project proceeded smoothly – by the spring of 2013, the wireless LAN deployments on both Aoyama and Sagamihara campuses were completed. What did the students and staff think of the wireless network? A smile appeared on Mishima’s face as he continued:
“Across the entire Aoyama campus, the wireless coverage has increased to over 90%, while the Sagamihara campus also enjoys Wi-Fi coverage in selected academic buildings. Compared to what it was before, the pressure from students and faculty members has been substantially relieved. The achievement was not only due to the high performance of deployed APs, but also the optimized placement locations, which is attributed to NTT-AT’s expertise.”
Wrapping up the interview, Mishima talked about the university’s future vision for its network infrastructure. “In order to make Wi-Fi widely accessible across the entire campus, we plan to deploy more wireless APs, starting from science laboratories, where initial deployment was postponed due to relatively lower user density. Perhaps with the increase of wireless APs, radio interference might occur again, but we don’t feel worried as we are strongly confident about NTT-AT’s expertise. With their advanced technology and knowledge, NTT-AT is capable of deploying optimized wireless LANs for us without any resources being wasted. They help us think in the shoes of the actual Wi-Fi users, and provide us with accurate, concise, and flexible feedback. That is the most important reason why we can rely on them.”
Through its partnership with NTT-AT, 4ipnet has successfully delivered a fully-featured and competitively-priced wireless LAN solution to Aoyama Gakuin University. After the deployment, the number of Wi-Fi related complaints and issues have also drastically decreased, reflecting both the reliability of 4ipnet’s solution as well as the high quality of initially deployment planning. With BYOD becoming ubiquitous and mobile usage rising rapidly, institutes of higher education will find that 4ipnet offers a flexible and effective managed wireless network, catering to all types of needs and situations.
Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) is the largest service provider of fixed line, mobile communication and broadband Internet access in Taiwan. In addition, CHT provides various additional services such as information security and Internet data center (IDC) to enterprises.
For the past few years, 3G networks in Taiwan have become increasingly congested due to the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, causing endless customer complaints and demands for improvement. As the leading operator in Taiwan’s telecommunication industry, CHT was determined to provide a better communication environment for its customers. The available options for achieving this goal included expanding the current 3G infrastructure, upgrading to a 4G/LTE network, or offloading data traffic with Wi-Fi. However, the cost of expanding cellular coverage with additional base transceiver stations (BTS) was very prohibitive. When compared with the cost of deploying new BTS, Wi-Fi not only had a higher throughput but also lower radio access network (RAN) costs per gigabit. Therefore, from CHT’s perspective it was a much more desirable solution.
CHT wished to find a carrier-grade Wi-Fi solution addressing the issues of security, capacity, and performance. After a thorough evaluation, CHT chose 4ipnet as its solution partner because of the functionality of its products, attentive customer support, and competitive pricing. To present, more than 150 WHG711 and WHG801 wireless LAN controllers have been deployed in CHT’s data centers to service the 3G offloading for the Taiwanese public. 4ipnet’s WHG-series controllers simultaneously support a wide array of carrier-grade authentication methods, including UAM, WISPr (Wireless Internet Service Provider roaming) Smart Client, and 802.1X transparent login. Due to CHT’s alliance with iPass, a global leader in Wi-Fi roaming market, WISPr Smart Client was an essential feature. In addition, the controllers played an important role in CHT’s “Wi-Fi offloading with automatic login” service introduced in 2013. After the service launched, users subscribed to CHT’s 3G service could automatically switch to Wi-Fi and login via EAP-SIM authentication whenever in range of CHT’s Wi-Fi hotspots. The hands-free switching between 3G and Wi-Fi eliminated complex login procedures that originally deterred users from transitioning to Wi-Fi, allowing CHT to successfully offload its data traffic and free up its network for enhanced voice call quality.
Once hundreds of thousands of users began offloading traffic through CHT’s hotspots, maintaining the Wi-Fi network’s performance was a top priority. Without proper network management, Wi-Fi would end up just as congested as 3G, defeating the initial purpose of offloading. This is where 4ipnet’s solution played another key role in CHT’s network. In addition to helping users seamlessly switch between 3G and Wi-Fi, the WHG controllers performed traffic analysis, traffic shaping, and bandwidth control. User policy enforcement allowed CHT to prevent abusive network usage by individual users and restricted unwanted traffic from clogging up network resources, ensuring the quality of Wi-Fi connectivity. The fine-grained control of user traffic provided CHT with a method to not only react more promptly to network issues, but also to better understand the behavior of its users.
With a 24/7 uptime requirement and each WHG processing the traffic load for thousands of VLANs, 4ipnet’s solution has been field-proven for handling high capacity and large-scale nation-wide deployments. Additional features such as WAN port load balancing, failover and system redundancy further guarantees telco-grade reliability. CHT’s customers can now enjoy enhanced quality of voice calls and high performance data transmission, and for CHT itself, this feat was accomplished under a maximal cost savings.
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4ipnet’s distribution partner in Spain, WifiSafe Spain S.L., will present 4ipnet’s turnkey hotel Wi-Fi solution at FITUR 2016, the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, from January 20 to 24. 4ipnet’s portfolio of multi-functional wireless network access controllers and Wi-Fi access points will be showcased at stand #10F36 in Hall 10.
4ipnet recently released an expansion to its Wi-Fi hotspot and access control platform, offering service providers and organizations with improved social Wi-Fi data collection, expanded multi-tenancy functionality, and additional deployment architecture flexibility. Businesses can utilize these features to further optimize wireless infrastructure costs, deliver new experiences for customers, and obtain valuable insights from the Wi-Fi network.
4ipnet’s solution features include:
4ipnet today announced a major expansion of its Wi-Fi hotspot and access control solution, offering service providers and organizations with additional deployment architecture flexibility, expanded multi-tenancy functionality, and improved social Wi-Fi data collection.
4ipnet today announced a major expansion of its Wi-Fi hotspot and access control solution, offering service providers and organizations with additional deployment architecture flexibility, expanded multi-tenancy functionality, and improved social Wi-Fi data collection. Businesses can utilize these features to further optimize wireless infrastructure costs, deliver new experiences for customers, and obtain valuable insights from the Wi-Fi network.
Flexible Split Tunnel Architecture for Increased Performance
In addition to the benefits of decreased bandwidth consumption and improved latency, 4ipnet’s split tunnel deployment architecture also provides added value to its on-demand billing platform, enabling new application scenarios. For example, chain hotels with multiple sites can deploy a single WHG controller-gateway in the data center, rather than the traditional method of one gateway per site. The hotels will be able to minimize TCO without sacrificing features such as volume or duration-based accounting, which is commonly used in free and premium tiered Wi-Fi packages. Furthermore, a single access point can simultaneously have unique tunnel type configurations for each SSID. For example in a distributed enterprise deployment, employee traffic can be tunneled in entirety back to the headquarters, while data traffic of guests can be routed directly to the Internet. This flexibility offers an optimal compromise between network performance and security.
Enhanced Multi-Tenancy with Virtual Service Zones
Building on top of 4ipnet’s Service Zone multi-tenancy concept, network operators now have the option of assigning independent AP group management privileges for each system administrator. A single physical WHG controller-gateway can act as multiple independent virtual networks (Service Zones), each with their own access points, customized login pages, authentication databases, user roles, and scheduling policies. Administrators can be authorized to manage one or multiple of these network entities in a tiered fashion, offering a flexible multi-tenancy architecture that caters to SMBs with limited IT resources or organizations needing managed services.
Social Wi-Fi Insights for Improved Customer Experience
For venue owners, 4ipnet’s enhanced data collection features help to facilitate the monetization of the wireless infrastructure and provided increased security. Wi-Fi users can be authenticated directly via their Facebook, Google+, or OpenID accounts, and when these users login, profile information such as name, e-mail, gender, birthday, and location can be collected and used by hotspot owners to implement more effective marketing and advertising campaigns. Additionally, customizable login pages now have the capability of collecting administrator-defined fields, such as citizen ID number or passport number for public safety purposes. Combined with the 4ipnet’s traffic monitoring features such as detailed user events and browsing histories, network operators can easily comply with governmental regulations and trace the source of any illegal activities.
“Organizations today are constantly looking for ways to minimize IT infrastructure costs while deriving new applications and services,” said Michael Lin, Director of 4ipnet. “By decoupling wireless AAA functionality from on-premises equipment and enhancing multi-tenancy capabilities, organizations have much more flexibility to choose the deployment model with the best cost-performance. And for businesses offering public Wi-Fi access, social media insights offer an effective method for providing differentiated and targeted services to their customers.”
4ipnet’s enhanced multi-tenancy and social Wi-Fi functionality is available immediately within the 4ipnet WHG-series WLAN controller-gateways, and existing customers are eligible to upgrade at no additional cost.