IT Leaders Get Strategic About Campus Coverage
End-to-end improvements in network upgrades set the foundation for new learning experiences.
Like most colleges these days, Clarke University works hard to keep pace with demand for wireless internet access. This year, IT staff increased the number of wireless access points throughout Clarke’s campus with new HPE Aruba equipment.
But they also modernized the network infrastructure, replacing aging switches and boosting speeds tenfold, from 1 to 10 gigabits per second.
“We’ve cycled through three generations of access points over the past 10 years. Some were fairly new, but some were long in the tooth. We had a mishmash,” says CTO Andy Bellings. “This project was a great opportunity for us to unify everything on the same technology, refresh the whole network at the same time and give everyone a better experience.”
Many institutions pair a wireless upgrade with a major network overhaul. The strategy lets them eliminate dead spots and blanket their campuses with Wi-Fi coverage, while also increasing capacity to ensure fast access.
“When you think network capacity, it’s not just a Wi-Fi network, but the backhaul, from the routers to the core switches and edge switches,” says Craig Mathias, principal of the Farpoint Group. “You want to make sure the network has no bottleneck end to end.”