Aruba Networks, Inc. announced that Fort Hays State University (FHSU), the fastest growing of the Kansas Board of Regents universities, has replaced its existing 802.11n wireless infrastructure with a new Aruba 802.11ac-based network. The new network, which is the first all-802.11ac infrastructure deployed by an institute of higher education, is enabling FHSU to accommodate the proliferation of mobile and wireless devices being used on campus. The network also supports classroom technologies like streaming video, while delivering enhanced performance for both 802.11ac and 802.11n devices.
The Aruba 802.11ac infrastructure replaces the University’s existing 802.11n wireless network. The previous network was unable to deliver the speed and bandwidth necessary to support the growing number of mobile devices being used at FHSU. It was also unable to provide detailed information on network activity and the types of devices being used, which FHSU’s IT department felt was critical to delivering the type of performance and security the University needed. After a thorough review of options from numerous other vendors, FHSU selected Aruba. Two key factors in the decision were Aruba’s ability to deliver the right bandwidth and speed for the University’s current and future needs and its ability to ensure that each user on FHSU’s network has the right access privileges based on who they are and what device they are using.
“Aruba’s 802.11ac solution allows us to support all the laptops, smart phones and tablets that our students are bringing to class, while also enabling our faculty to stream HD video or display high definition content on classroom projectors,” said Derek Johnson, Data Communications Coordinator for FHSU. “Several of our professors like to be on the ‘bleeding edge’ of classroom technology. Since rolling out the new Aruba infrastructure, these instructors have felt confident relying on the network to incorporate new educational tools into their lesson plans.”
The new network is comprised of Aruba AP-220 Series 802.11ac access points (APs) with Aruba’s patented ClientMatch™technology, which matches mobile devices to the best possible access point each time they connect, the 7200 Series Mobility Controller, and the ClearPass Access Management System, which FHSU is using for device registration and authentication as well as policy management.
Improved device performance has been an important benefit of the new Aruba 802.11ac network. Since the deployment, 802.11ac laptops at the University have been performing at speeds up to 180 Mbps, and 802.11n devices have nearly doubled their speeds in some cases. Since smartphone performance has also improved with the new network, FHSU is seeing more people connecting their phones to the Wi-Fi network, rather than the cellular network. “While our students used to rely on 4G because it was faster than our old network, they are now connecting to the Aruba 802.11ac network and are telling us how pleased they are with its speed and reliability,” said Johnson.
The preference that FHSU students are showing for Wi-Fi over cellular is consistent with findings from a recent survey conducted by Aruba Networks on the emergence of #GenMobile, a new generation defined by their preference for mobility in terms of the devices they use and their approach to work and school. In the survey, Aruba found that nearly 58% of respondents prefer Wi-Fi over other connections such as 4G, 3G or wired.
Looking ahead, FHSU will be expanding the network with additional Aruba AP-225 access points to address growing device density in academic buildings and to support the campus’ newest building, which will open in August 2014. Once the new building is online, FSHU will have over 500 APs deployed. The University is also planning to deploy Aruba’s AirWave Network Management Systemand is considering Aruba AirGroup to manage the growing amount of Apple AirPlay traffic it is experiencing on the network.
“The new Aruba 802.11ac network with ClearPass has resolved our prior coverage and capacity issues as well as our need for robust policy and device management capabilities. It is allowing our faculty to fully utilize state-of-the-art educational tools and technologies in the classroom and our students to securely and easily access the network where and when they need it,” said Johnson. “Based on the results we are seeing here on campus, I would advise other higher ed institutions to go with 802.11ac for any network upgrades or rollouts and I would specifically recommend using Aruba for the outstanding performance, security, and access management functionality it delivers.”
About Aruba Networks, Inc.
Aruba Networks is a leading provider of next-generation network access solutions for the mobile enterprise. The company designs and delivers Mobility-Defined Networks that empower IT departments and #GenMobile, a new generation of tech-savvy users who rely on their mobile devices for every aspect of work and personal communication. To create a mobility experience that #GenMobile and IT can rely upon, Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks™ automate infrastructure-wide performance optimization and trigger security actions that used to require manual IT intervention. The results are dramatically improved productivity and lower operational costs.