Coppin State University Selects Aruba Networks to Upgrade and Expand Campus Wireless Network

Tim Goral's picture
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SUNNYVALE, Calif.-- Aruba Networks, a provider of next-generation network access solutions, has announced that Coppin State University has upgraded and expanded its wireless network with solutions based on Aruba Networks’ Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE) architecture. The University, located in West Baltimore, Maryland, needed to replace its aging wireless network with one that could enable faster speeds and greater bandwidth to accommodate the growing number of mobile devices. With Aruba’s 802.11n access points and controllers, Coppin State has successfully expanded wireless coverage across the entire campus and to outdoor areas, including Coppin’s sports facilities.

The University first deployed a Nortel 802.11 a/b/g wireless network nine years ago. Over time, however, it became clear [to the University’s IT department] that the network could not continue to accommodate Coppin State’s 4,000 students and 770 staff and faculty, who were demanding access to communications, collaboration and educational applications across campus. In addition, like most universities and colleges, Coppin State has experienced the BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device phenomenon, where students and staff are expecting to connect to the wireless network on their own tablets and smartphones.

To address these challenges, Coppin State evaluated a number of wireless networking vendors and chose Aruba Networks for the upgrade and expansion. Using Aruba Mobility Controllers with M3 modules and Aruba 134 and 135 access points to address both indoor and outdoor areas, Coppin State replaced all of its Nortel equipment and extended wireless coverage campus-wide. In addition, Coppin State is using the Aruba AirWave Management System to monitor and gather network statistics, and Aruba’s ClearPass Access Management System to address the growing demand for guest access on campus. ClearPass enables University guests to log-on to the wireless network quickly and securely with zero intervention.

“Aruba was the obvious choice for us because of the company’s clear focus and expertise in wireless, its advanced technology and features such as the 3x3 spatial streams that we didn’t find with other vendors,” said Wasay Taha, Network Manager, Coppin State University. “Since upgrading the network with Aruba’s solutions, we’ve seen increases in our Wi-Fi with speeds by up to eight times faster. This obviously has a tremendous impact on our users’ ability to access the applications they need, when they need them, and to become more productive and efficient when they are using the network.”

Mr. Taha noted that crucial applications such as accessing Coppin State’s parking devices, purchasing tickets for campus events, digital signage and lecture capture were all aided by the wireless network upgrade. The network now enables students, staff and faculty to use all Coppin State systems without being tied to their desks.

Most of the devices currently accessing Coppin State’s wireless network are Windows-based laptops, but the University is beginning to see a rapid increase in Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as Android devices. “We expect to continue seeing an increase in all types of mobile devices on the network. This is why it was critical for us to put the right infrastructure in place now,” Mr. Taha said.

“Many colleges and universities are in exactly the same situation as Coppin State; they were forward-looking enough to deploy wireless networks ten or more years ago, but are now finding that their aging networks can’t accommodate the burgeoning demand for connectivity and the substantial growth in users, devices and applications that they are experiencing,” said Gerry Festa, Director, Industry Solutions Marketing for Aruba Networks. “Aruba’s MOVE architecture is designed to address the challenges these institutions face and ensure that they have an infrastructure that can grow with their student population, secure and manage the multitude of mobile devices used on campus and expand easily to new buildings and outdoor areas, as needed.” In terms of future plans for the wireless network, Coppin State plans to expand coverage to newly-constructed buildings on campus including a new Science and Technology Center which will be home to their onsite data center.

More at Aruba Networks.