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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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Educause: Bringing Together Technology and Education to Invest in Our Future

It’s amazing to think about the way a traditional classroom operated only a few years ago.  As Renee Patton recently pointed out in her blog post, there were rules, there were barriers, and they were all kept within the confines of an educational institution.  As technology has advanced, those rules have been challenged, barriers overcome, and an entirely new era of learning has emerged.

The collaborative nature of education, educators and learners has allowed new technologies to thrive and innovation to accelerate.  We’re flipping classrooms, implementing mobile learning programs and developing entirely new ways for students to connect and engage.  And we’re looking with excitement toward a future that will continually change the way we teach and learn. Read More »

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Back to School: Transforming the Classroom with IoE

With students and teachers heading back to school, I’ve been thinking about when attended high school and college. For me, collaboration meant getting together with study groups, phone calls for homework help and office hours with teachers. For my two children – one a college junior and one college freshman – I have seen streaming video, text messages and online sessions with educators thousands of miles away turn our kitchen table into a classroom with a simple click of a button.Back to School

Beyond convenience and the overwhelming coolness factor of being able to connect virtually with teachers and classmates, I often wonder how technology will impact education and careers in the long run. Collaboration software is pervasive on many campuses, transforming the learning process, academic research and the relationship between students and instructors. With the advent of BYOD and mobile technology, collaboration is even becoming more accessible.  Will the integration of collaboration in their education translate into career skills?

Read More »

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Don’t Forget! Register for Webinar: 802.11ac in Higher Education

Curious about how to use 802.11ac in Higher Education and other high density wireless environments?

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Tomorrow, July 24, we are hosting another 802.11ac webinar, this one focused on Higher Education. We will feature Mark Denny, Cisco Product Manager from the Enterprise Mobility Group, who will provide an overview of 802.11ac, discuss the benefits of 802.11ac and provide a summary of Cisco’s 802.11ac Solutions. We will then have Greg Sawyer, the Manager of Communication Services at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia, discuss his experience with 802.11ac, the reason why he is deploying 802.11ac and the benefits he expects from this emerging technology.

The webinar is tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24th @ 3PM PDT. Here is the registration link. If you miss it, we will have it available on demand here shortly after. Also, if you missed last week’s 802.11ac Webinar for Healthcare, it is available in the dropdown on demand here.

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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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