Massachusetts University gives 12,000 students wireless access with Aruba MOVE Architecture

Networks announced that the University of Massachusetts Amherst has provided
its 12,000+ resident students with wireless access, replacing the existing
cabled network.

multimedia-grade Wi-Fi network, based on the Aruba Mobile Virtual Enterprise
(MOVE) architecture, was selected to handle the dense number of mobile devices
such as smartphones and tablets and the resulting increase in high bandwidth
video and audio traffic over the air.

students no longer want to be tethered to a desktop, but rather expect us to
provide a high performance network that will support mobile devices that make
increasing use of video and audio enhanced applications.” said John Dubach, CIO
of UMass Amherst CIO.

Amherst is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system,
sitting on nearly 1,450 acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western
Massachusetts, 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from New York City. The
campus provides a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major
urban centers. With more than 27,000 total undergraduate and graduate students
and more than 1,100 full-time instructional faculty, providing reliable, secure
access to information from anywhere on campus is critical.

Amherst began by deploying wireless hotspots in common areas where students
congregate for study and leisure. They then extended the wireless access to
classrooms, libraries and administrative buildings, before deciding to replace
the wired access made available in residence halls with 802.11n wireless
solutions from Aruba.

Amherst led with a pilot program in a single residence hall housing 139
students, in which it installed wireless-only network access for the residents.
After conducting multiple surveys during the pilot, it was clear that the
students were very satisfied and eager to see a mobile network service
provided. Their preference for wireless was clear and the Aruba
multimedia-grade solution was up to the task.

Using Aruba Airwave
management software, the IT department at UMass Amherst identified
“rogue” access points and developed an “air space” policy
for the residence halls, asking students not to deploy their own access points
and offering them a managed wireless service, administered by the university IT

physically un-plugged the more than 12,000 Ethernet “ports to the
pillow,” that they had installed for access in a more desktop-centric era,
and deployed more than 2,000 Aruba 802.11n AP-125 access points to provide
students with network access. The deployment was completed over two summer
phases of two months each.

Students use
the new wireless network for a variety of applications including the usual
email and research. The trend is moving toward more social-media focused
unified communications and even IPTV, delivered from video subscription
services outside the university.

The number
of registered network devices has increased, trouble tickets have been
proportionally reduced and the university IT department avoided the cost of
upgrading all of the CAT-3 cable that had been deployed earlier to provide
wired access to all 12,000+ residents.

While UMass
Amherst will continue to provide wired access to researchers, labs,
high-performance computing environments and other areas that require sustained
multi-gigabit connections, it will cover the remaining 80 percent of the campus
with wireless as the primary access type.

Amherst is ahead of many in making the transition to Wi-Fi as the primary means
of network access,” said Manish Rai, director of industry solutions
marketing for Aruba.

By Team
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