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How Next Generation WLAN Optimizes RoboCup at Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College is a liberal arts college based in the town of Brunswick, Maine. It houses 1839 students in about 100 buildings and offers 33 different majors and 4 minors. The Bowdoin IT Team are pioneering in nature as would be expected from the state whose motto, “Dirigo”, translates to “I lead”; adopting bleeding-edge best-in-class technologies to provide the optimal connected experience for students, faculty, staff and guests. This is counter-balanced with pragmatism in phasing the roll-out of these services.

This next generation pervasive WLAN network enables students to collaborate with each other anywhere on the campus and with the teachers in the classroom. In the previous blog in 2012, we described how Bowdoin upgraded to 3602 Access Points and used the innovative CleanAir technology tie-in with Event Driven Radio Resource Monitoring to optimize WLAN coverage. They also adopted the Cisco Prime and ISE 1.2 for manageability and consistent wired-wireless Policy respectively. In this blog, we will cover more details about the recent upgrade of the Wireless LAN Controller from the previous model WiSM to the new model 5760 and describe highlights of our conversation with Jason and Trevor about the WLAN deployment itself.

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Guest Blog: Migrating High Density University Networks to 802.11ac

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Joe Rogers, Associate Director of Network Engineering for the University of South Florida (USF). Hear Joe speak about his experiences with next-generation wireless in high density environments on next Tuesday’s webinar:  “Migrating Enterprise Networks to 802.11ac” at 10am PST (Dec 17) (Register here)

Joe RogersJoe Rogers is the Associate Director of Network Engineering for the University of South Florida.  He is a graduate of USF’s Computer Science and Engineering program and has worked as a network engineer at USF for the past 20 years.  He is currently responsible for all aspects of USF’s network which provides connectivity to over 100k devices across three campuses.  He’s held a CCIE routing and switching certification since 1999.  When not working, he’s an avid mountain biker (if you can call it “mountain” biking when you live in Florida).

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Universities face some of the most complex design challenges in wireless networking.  Our user population is highly mobile, bandwidth-hungry, and often simultaneously using at least two wireless devices in rooms with hundreds of their classmates.  The wireless network isn’t simply a convenience to them.  It’s critical to their educational success as many of the students are taking tests or working on assignments across the network.

At the University of South Florida, we support over 20,000 concurrent wireless users on our network of over 4,000 access points.  We have more than 90,000 unique devices registered this semester.  Our biggest challenge is designing the wireless network for the device densities in our large classrooms and popular study areas.  In these locations, we often have a thousand devices in a few hundred square feet of space.

We heavily rely on band select to place as many devices as possible on 5Ghz where more channels are available.  Unfortunately many devices such as older tablets and smart phones simply don’t have an 802.11a/n radio.  So we must carefully RF engineer the environment with smaller cells to provide the necessary coverage density. Read More »

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How Can One Cisco Intern Impact the World?

When I arrived in early June for my 12-week internship in Cisco Corporate Affairs, I began to read You + Networks = Impactx everywhere on the Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) website. For me, it was just a tagline – part of a marketing campaign for Cisco CSR.  I didn’t understand it, and wasn’t sure if I completely believed it.  It wasn’t until I became a part of the Cisco CSR family and plugged myself into the equation that You + Networks = Impactx became much more than a tagline; it became the heart of my work at Cisco this summer.

During my 12-week internship, I learned how human and technology networks can multiply impact on people, communities, and the planet.

During my 12-week internship, I learned how human and technology networks can multiply impact on people, communities, and the planet.

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Higher Education Races Towards 802.11ac

[Webinar] 802.11ac in Higher Education | Wednesday July 24 at 3pm PST < REGISTER

It’s no secret that mobile devices are playing a larger part in today’s businesses. With the fast pace of mobility adoption by consumers, network usage has started to outrun the infrastructure of most enterprises’ mobile networks. Enterprise IT managers are struggling to keep up with mobility’s effects on workplace productivity and requirements.

Among the growing trends that weigh heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals is bring your own device (BYOD). The growth of bandwidth-intensive applications, like video streaming, and the user expectations of always-on network and application performance also place heavy demand on organizational infrastructure.

802.11ac is the next generation of Wi-Fi, designed to give enterprises the tools to meet the demands of BYOD, high-bandwidth applications, and the always-on connected user. This Wednesday we will be hosting a workshop to discuss the benefits of 802.11ac, and how to optimize it for high density and high bandwidth to benefit higher education. Students, typically early adopters of wireless technology, usually bring 802.11ac in the form of the latest laptop, smartphone, and tablet that support this new technology. Read More »

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The Collaboration Evolution – A Strategy for Transforming Education

For today’s digital generation, collaborative learning is no longer a novelty – it’s an expectation.  Students are consuming information in new and different formats – video, Internet, virtual classrooms.  These are all tools that are changing the face of education.  To make this transformation a reality, students, faculty and administrators need to reliably connect with the people and resources they need whether they’re using their desktop or mobile device, at home or in the classroom.

As more schools offer a comprehensive and collaborative learning experience, they are seeing vast benefits. To transform the delivery of education Katy Independent School District deployed Cisco Unified Workspace, adding mobile capabilities and immersive video. The decision to invest in these collaborative solutions resulted in improved test scores, increased student, teacher engagement and ease of IT administration.

For schools looking to take the plunge like Katy ISD, what’s the best approach to take?

As I discussed in this recent blog post about collaboration strategies for government organizations, the best approach is looking at the problem with the big picture in mind.

With Cisco Unified Workspace, schools can build a scalable and secure network that will serve as a strong foundation for the future. Watch the video below to see how Cisco’s solution is designed with utility to unify voice, video, data and secure access on any device and at any location.

Equipped with Cisco’s smart collaboration strategy schools can combine voice, video and mobility to create a classroom that allows faculty and students to collaborate efficiently and securely.

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