Technology has drastically change the way we learn. What has become ubiquitous is the adoption of mobile devices in higher education. Professors encourage the usage of laptops and tablets to facilitate students’ learning. On the other hand, students found Wi-Fi indispensable as they need to bring their tablets and laptops to lectures, libraries and student unions.
Therefore, it is essential for school administrations to deploy wireless networks to support BYOD on campus. However, they not only need to provide Wi-Fi access, but also monitor user behavior and network operation while maintaining security and reliability. The performance and manageability are the key factors in selecting WLAN infrastructure.
With 4ipnet’s education solution, schools are able to support BYOD on campus while providing secure and fast Wi-Fi with comprehensive provisioning and management features.
4ipnet’s comprehensive solution offers:
As IT infrastructure plays an important role in today’s smart learning, school administrations have to be able to manage their networks. 4ipnet provides a cost-effective wireless LAN solution solving the problems of CAPACITY, DENSITY, SECURITY and COVERAGE while enabling ease of deployment and total control of the networks.
Considering the changing communication environment and increase in mobile device usage, Aoyama Gakuin University realized that it was necessary to expand its WLAN infrastructure. However, providing a reliable wireless environment for over 20,000 students was no easy task. What are the key factors to a successful deployment?
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.
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Siksha 'O' Anusandhan (SOA) University is a prestigious institution of higher education in India offering professional programs in a wide range of disciplines. As the administration at SOA University noticed the BYOD trend, they also realized that in order to meet these demands they had to offer a secure Wi-Fi environment that could handle a large capacity of concurrent mobile devices.
Located in Bhubaneswar, India, Siksha 'O' Anusandhan (SOA) University is a prestigious institution of higher education offering professional programs in a wide range of disciplines, including Engineering, Medicine, Management, and Law. In recent years, Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices have become increasingly ubiquitous, building a strong momentum for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in both enterprises and campuses. As a result, users are demanding reliability and high performance mobility for Internet services. The administration at SOA University noticed this trend, realizing that in order to meet these demands they had to offer a secure Wi-Fi environment that could handle a large capacity of concurrent mobile devices.
There were several challenges that SOA University faced when it came to providing mobile-ready campus Wi-Fi. First, since the university encompasses a wide area, the deployed APs needed to support fast roaming as users moved from one AP to the next. Second, given that the university could potentially have up to 1,100 students online at any moment, each with multiple mobile devices, the WLAN infrastructure needed to be robust and be able to operate steadily in high-density environments. Last, the university wished to provide differentiated access privileges for faculty members and students to ensure the security of sensitive data.
The university surveyed solutions offered by several vendors and concluded that 4ipnet’s solution was ultimately the most suitable, deploying WHG405 and WHG515 Wireless LAN Controllers with EAP110 APs. The controllers enabled browser-based user authentication, providing an easy and intuitive method for students to login. Furthermore, role-based policies allowed administrators to enforce firewall rules and limit the Internet usage of individual users. For example, students could be prohibited from browsing Facebook during class time, while bandwidth throttling would prevent the campus network from being overwhelmed by HD video streaming and other high bandwidth applications. In the event of illegal Internet activities such as music or movie downloading, detailed usage logs like HTTP Web Log and NAT Conversion Log would help the university IT staff quickly trace the source of the activity. These user management and logging features of the WHG controllers created a secure and reliable Wi-Fi environment for every user at SOA University.
In addition to WLAN controllers, access points also play a significant role in every wireless network when it comes to overall network quality and security. SOA University elected to deploy the most cost-effective 4ipnet EAP110 access points alongside the WHGs, providing up to 300 Mbps data rate for 802.11n clients and packing a complete set of features such as VLAN tagging and Layer 2 Firewall. VLAN tagging allowed the university to segregate network traffic and limit broadcast domains, while Layer 2 Firewall helped prevent unnecessary packets from entering the wireless medium, freeing up the airtime for additional data transfer. The most significant benefit came from integrating the EAP110s and WHG controllers, which allowed the team at SOA University to perform centralized AP management and monitoring, rogue AP detection, and load balancing between APs.
In summary, 4ipnet’s WLAN solution enabled SOA University to deliver a next-generation mobile e-learning experience. From network services to user monitoring and AP management, 4ipnet's features helped simplify the workload of network administrators and guarantee a high performance and secure wireless network. At SOA University, students can now enjoy uninterrupted Wi-Fi connectivity on their mobile devices across the campus, arming them with a much smarter and more efficient way to learn.
The Institute is located in Bhubaneswar, offering engineering and technology-related courses. The school administration felt the need to have Wi-Fi for students in dorms and campus. Therefore, they deployed 4ipnet WHG311 and EAP110 for secure and managed wireless networks.