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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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Practical Tips for Safekeeping your Mobile Devices

Now when I’m talking about safekeeping a mobile device, I’m not saying don’t use your Kindle by the pool or let your toddler play on the iPad while eating ice cream. These are dangerous things to be doing with a gadget, but today I want to focus more on the data within that device, rather than the device itself.

No matter what you do, your device may be stolen. It only takes a moment of inattention for someone to swipe your phone or tablet. Before that unfortunate event occurs, there are several things that you can do to mitigate the damage that occurs from the loss of a mobile device.
Read More »

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[Cartoon Catalyst Blog Series] K-12 BYOD. Secure Students, Determine Internet Access, and Yet Provide Awesome Network Performance?

Students bounding into schools touting the latest device is creating big problem for K-12 IT departments. How can schools support BYOD initiatives while securing these mobile devices and the student information embedded within them if IT staff numbers aren’t growing?

In his latest blog, K-12 BYOD. Secure Students, Determine Internet Access, and Yet Provide Awesome Network Performance?, Cisco’s Rahul Chohan discusses how Identity Services Engine policy deployment as a part of Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education helps simplify mobile device security streamlines the IT security processes required to deploy BYOD. Rahul’s blog covers how ISE helps protect minors, ensure performance, and simplify IT over the wired and wireless infrastructure. How exactly can it do this? You’ll have to read his blog to find out.

For more on Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education page.

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[Cartoon Catalyst Blog Series] K-12 BYOD. Secure Students, Determine Internet Access, and Yet Provide Awesome Network Performance?

So many students, so many devices, yet zero increase in number of IT staffers. The increasingly unbalanced ratio is enough to cause a few nightmares for any IT professional.  Luckily, supporting student IT requirements, while remaining secure, has become a bit simpler with Identity Service Engine (ISE)  Policy Deployment, part of Cisco BYOD Solutions for K12 Education.   With ISE, IT staffers can quickly add and support student’s devices like laptops, smart phones and tablets and at the same time ensure the protection of student information access, dynamically control who gets access to what and provide optimal network user experience.  You can be rest assured that we have your back while you balance it all.

K-12 TightRope1    

Protection of Minors – Let’s face it – K-12 means we’re talking about minors, so we need to tread quite carefully. Extending network access across wired and wireless opens education to a world of innovation; yet it also opens the network up to security threats. 64% of parents feel it is a schools responsibility to effectively teach students how to use their mobile devices safely [Info graphic].  Protection of access to and access by students is a high-priority.  It is critical to restrict access to confidential student records while making sure students get the right access to resources they need for learning. The ISE component of the  K12 BYOD Solution protects student information through secure,   role-based, application access – simply -- over the wired and wireless infrastructure. Read More »

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[Cartoon Catalyst Blog Series] Why deploy Pervasive Wireless for K-12. Who’s doing it and how.

July 10, 2013 at 11:07 am PST

With so many schools looking to integrate various technologies for things like blended & distance learning, increased staff and student collaboration, and mobility options, many are asking “are we sure we have the necessary infrastructure?”. And if they answer yes, will it support the newest technologies, and will it work all the time, every time?

We all know technology-enabled classrooms are becoming necessary for students and teachers living in a network-connected, mobile world.  Luckily, schools can actually reduce operating costs at the same time they are enabling these technologies by providing a wireless network infrastructure. Read More »

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