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Innovations in Higher Education: New Thursday Blog Series

Most of us have seen the incredible progress and subsequent challenges in the arena of higher education, and there’s no doubt it’s been a big topic of discussion amongst the Cisco Education Team. So, we are excited to announce an upcoming blog series that will highlight some of the key trends, challenges and innovations we are seeing in higher education.

For the next few months, we will host a Thursday blog series focused on the changes in higher education. Starting next Thursday, our own Renee Patton will kick it off by highlighting many of the current trends and challenges. After that, stay tuned each Thursday as we feature blogs covering everything from research universities and online learning models to data sovereignty and analytics. Read More »

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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.

bowdoin1 Read More »

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Naughty or Nice: Cisco Wireless Rewards Release 7.6 Innovations to All

Deloitte’s 2013 Annual Holiday survey came out with some staggering statistics:

  • Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers will use their smartphones and tablets to shop this holiday season.
  • Nearly half of all shoppers will use social media to assist in shopping.
  • 73% of shoppers will be influenced by coupons and promotional offers.

Retailers both online and in-store can no longer ignore the power of mobile technology and social media influence with shoppers. Shoppers using mobile devices inside stores are actually more likely to make a purchase when being presented with the right information. In fact, this isn’t only true for retailers, but across all industries. Whether it’s guests, visitors, patients or passengers, there’s a real opportunity for businesses to make an impression via the mobile device.

Today I am happy to announce our latest Cisco Wireless Software Release 7.6. As you may recall from Sujai Hajela’s State of Cisco WLAN blog earlier this week, Cisco’s Wireless group has been ahead of the competition with our dedication to delivering cutting edge, high performing technology to our customers.

Many features in Release 7.6 were designed specifically to enable our customers to take advantage of the latest mobile trends. Here are some of the highlights:

Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX)

CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi is a joint Cisco — Facebook solution for guest Wi-Fi. Read More »

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New University Dedicated to STEM, Real-world Relevance

The success of our industry and even our nation’s well-being are dependent on engaging students and developing the experts of the future in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I am personally committed to STEM education initiatives, and want to share an exciting university that’s breaking new ground to lead the way and ensure students have a clear path to STEM careers. As the newest member of the State University System of Florida, Florida Polytechnic University is dedicated exclusively to STEM.

Within their College of Engineering and the College of Innovation and Technology, Florida Poly will offer six undergraduate degree programs and two Master degree programs. These include some really unique areas of concentration including Big Data Analytics, Cloud Virtualization, Health Informatics, Cyber Gaming, Information Assurance and Cyber Security, and even more.

Another unique aspect of this high-tech university is that they work closely with industry partners to ensure strong relevance to real-world needs.  This will ensure graduates are learning the critical skills needed to join some very competitive workforces.  In fact, all you have to do is check out the campus to be impressed:

If you are in Florida, check out the PolyPremiere – a campaign where Florida Poly is rolling out the purple carpet at movie theaters across the state to give potential students an in-depth look at Florida Poly’s campus, curriculum, culture and scholarships.

Where are your tech students looking for STEM degree opportunities?

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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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