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Mobility in Action: Transforming Education at Purdue University with Pervasive Wireless Connectivity

A Chat with Purdue University’s CIO

Last week Cisco and Verizon took the wraps off their joint effort to help Purdue University deploy a pervasive, high-performance wireless network throughout the University’s 2,500-acre West Lafayette campus. Verizon Business is installing a Cisco Unified Wireless Network with more than 6,000 802.11n wireless access points, giving Purdue’s 51,000 students and faculty seamless mobile access to collaborative educational and research tools no matter where they are.

Shortly before the announcement, I spoke to Gerry McCartney, Vice President for Information Technology & CIO at the University, to get his perspective on the project and what it will mean for education at Purdue.

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The Human Network Really Is Changing How We Live


I’m writing this blog from the Emergency Room at Akron Children’s Hospital.  My 6 year old son Fritz has an eye infection, so he’s lying in bed watching Scooby Doo while we wait for his CT results.  My cell phone doesn’t have coverage in his room, but luckily the hospital has a Cisco wireless network, so I can keep in contact with my husband who is out of town on business.  He is in a remote part of West Virginia which doesn’t have great cellular coverage, but he can email and text from his iPhone.  We have 3 young children and I  know from experience that ER visits usually take 2-3 hours, so I brought my laptop just in case I have time to catch up on email.

My day started at 6:30am when Fritz woke up with his eye swollen shut.  My friend Michele is an ER doctor at Children’s Hospital, so I  called her on her cell to make sure she was on call and let her know we were on our way.  When we arrived they immediately sent us to a room where our contact information and insurance was submitted wirelessly.  Michele examined his eye and submitted the order for a CT scan. While we waited to be taken to the CT room our nurse Beth came in to insert Fritz’s IV.  She said Dr. Walsh told her to ask me about our Halloween Party.  Funny you ask, I have pictures right here. I pulled up my Facebook page and showed her pictures of Michele and I in our costumes at the party.

When Fritz and I went for his CT scan the technician asked Fritz if he plays computer games.  He loves, and was so excited when she gave him a Popsicle mouse for good behavior.  How times have changed…when I was a kid we got stickers for being good at the Doctors!

Michele came back with his CT results and said that he needed to be admitted for a few days so they could administer IV antibiotics.  Fritz was calmly watching Special Agent Oso so I continued to work on my email until we were moved to a room.  I received an email from my cousin Tom, the VP of Marketing and Advertising  for Armani Exchange.  He forwarded me a link to The Future of Shopping viral video that he received from Calence, a Cisco Partner asking me if I knew about the technology. I watched the video over the wireless network and responded back to his email.  I also made arrangements to meet with Tom for dinner while I am working at Interop in NYC the week of November 16th.


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Speed to 802.11n with the Cisco 802.11n Acceleration Kit

With the ratification of 802.11n, organizations can now raise their network to the power of n with confidence. Cisco is leading this market transition toward 802.11n with its new 802.11n Acceleration Kit that dramatically simplifies the adoption of the industry’s most powerful wireless technology.

Since the introduction of its 802.11n technology, Cisco has worked with more than 6,000 customers that have experienced the benefit of next generation wireless. And, from these extensive customer engagements, Cisco has identified the remaining inhibitors to 802.11n adoption, which include:

  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Lack of Expertise
  • Network Readiness

Cisco’s 802.11n Acceleration Kit removes these barriers by enabling a more seamless transition to 802.11n. Only Cisco can deliver a complete mix of product, pricing, service and program elements to ease the customer transition to 802.11n.

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Dude Where’s My Car?

Arnold Clark Automobiles, Europe’s largest independent auto dealer, probably is no longer asked “dude, where’s my car?” thanks to a Cisco Unified Wireless Network and an AeroScout Vehicle Tracking solution at its Stafford, U.K. dealership. To the consumer, the mobility solution is transforming the automobile sales and service experience. On the back end, Arnold Clark is improving staff productivity and collaboration, deliving a positive customer experience, and helping reduce expenditures and inventory depreciation, loss and theft while freeing up resources for alternative investments.

In the following video, tour the Arnold Clark Automobiles Stafford, U.K. dealership, and hear from managing director, Eddie Hawthorne, staff, and Boston Network’s Scott McEwan who discuss the business benefits of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network and AeroScout asset tracking solution that are enhancing customer service and sales.

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802.11n: A Major Step Forward for Mobility

Smart antenna technology, the foundation of the 802.11n 2.0 draft standard, has been utilized for decades by the military. But when applying this technology to enterprise and consumer grade APs, it’s not as simple as bolting a smart antenna onto existing WiFi access points due to the requirement for tight integration between the RF and baseband sections in the upfront design and standards process.  While you’d have to be an antenna connoisseur to appreciate the differences between beamforming and the various flavors of Multiple-in-Multiple-out (MIMO) algorithms, we can all benefit from the time and effort that companies like Cisco have invested over the last 7 years to get this technology embedded into currently-shipping products. So the recent ratification of 802.11n as a full fledged standard that is completely compatible with already-deployed 802.11n 2.0 draft-certified devices, is worth a tip of the hat to all those who helped make it happen.  802.11n is a key wireless technology that is significantly improving the performance and reliability of the user experience.


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