Has your wireless network help you identify the closest Printer to you? That’s exactly the kind of problems Cisco wireless is helping solve at Vanderbilt University.

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Located in the heart of Nashville, TN, the Vanderbilt campus consists of Vanderbilt University (VU) and Vanderbilt University Medical center (VUMC).

Cisco Wireless at Vanderbilt serves about 33,000 users (12,500 students and 20,500 staff) everyday from the University and medical center. Vanderbilt spans across 324 buildings, which includes 35 medical centers.

One of the key elements about the wireless network at Vanderbilt is the requirement to support stringent standards to serve as a Medical Grade Network (MGN).

At a Glance:

Location: Nashville, TN

Number of students: 12,500

Number of staff (University and medical center): 20,500

Number of Access Points: 6000

Wireless Controllers: 8 units of 8510 (3 HA Pairs & 2 standalone)

Software Version: AireOS

Prime Infrastructure: 2.2

MSE: 2 units running (Used for tracking Student assets at University & Medical tags at VUMC)

Bonjour is Apple’s service discovery protocol which locates devices such as Apple TV, Printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS). In previous Blog, we have highlighted how different education institutes are deploying Bonjour to enable better collaboration between student and faculty. To learn more about Bonjour at Vanderbilt University we spoke to Sapna Misra who helps support this network.

Vanderbilt University has successfully deployed Bonjour Services gateway on the Cisco WLC for students and faculty. To simplify device discovery and isolate the bonjour services by location, Vanderbilt has enabled Bonjour Gateway Local Specific Services (LSS) feature on the Cisco WLC. Using this feature, student and faculty members are directed to the closest Apple TV or Printer.

This feature has helped Sapna automate the Apple TV installation for the AV department at the without any IT intervention.

Vanderbilt IT supported Apple TV’s have been deployed in conference rooms to enable easy options for end users to mirror their devices across VLAN’s. The university owned Apple TV’s are secured using the passcode feature. At the same time, Students have the option to setup their own Apple TV in the dorms on the university device network.

Vanderbilt network currently has about 150 Apple TV’s deployed on the wireless network and has been running without any issues for the last 1.5 years.

Future Plans:

  1. Vanderbilt is currently testing the 8.0 Release to be deployed after the summer break.
  2. Vanderbilt is adopting 802.11ac technology on their medical network and refreshing the network with AP 3700
  3. Enabling Ports on the Wall Plate AP 700w and HDX for classrooms is a key driver for moving to 8.0 release.
  4. Enabling Chromecast using Cisco Bonjour gateway will be tested soon.


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Damodar Banodkar

Technical Marketing Engineer

Cisco's Wireless Networking Group