West Chester University housing partners with Aruba Networks

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN) today announced that West Chester University, the largest of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education with approximately 16,000 students, is deploying an Aruba 802.11ac wireless LAN (WLAN) to provide connectivity to the more than 5,000 students living in West Chester’s 12 residence halls and student apartments.

With West Chester University's new Aruba wireless LAN, #GenMobile students can access reliable, high performing wireless in student housing and on campus.

Driven by demand from students for reliable, high-performing wireless and the IT department’s requirements for network security and cost efficiency, the University is rolling out Aruba solutions to their dormitories and student apartments, with the goal of transforming the majority of the student housing to all-wireless environments by the Fall 2014 semester.

Having deployed an Aruba 802.11n wireless network across its academic and administrative buildings, West Chester University already realized the benefits and costs savings associated with wireless networking. Student housing posed a particular challenge for the University as it combined a number of older, wired buildings with brand new buildings designed with Wi-Fi in mind. In particular, the older buildings were not designed to accommodate the needs of the #GenMobile students who have a strong preference for Wi-Fi and are using bandwidth-intensive applications.

According to Richard Chan, Assistant Director, Networking and Telecommunications for West Chester University, the Wi-Fi demands and activities of the students were key drivers in the decision to move to all-802.11ac wireless in every housing facility.

“We noticed that students were bringing routers from home into the older, wired dorms and the proximity of all of these routers caused numerous interference issues,” Chan said. “Our students were really relying on wireless connectivity not just for basic Internet and email access for course work, but also for access to online courses and distance learning, plus social media and HD video streaming. We realized the right approach was to equip all of the existing dorms with ultra-fast Wi-Fi and ensure that all of the new dorms were all-wireless from the ground up.”

Chan noted that while the typical #GenMobile student activity initiated the University’s move to all-wireless in its student housing, the associated cost benefits made the decision even easier. “By eliminating cabling costs and going all-wireless in some of the buildings, we’ve been able to realize over one million dollars in total cost savings. That made cutting the cord a simple choice.”

West Chester is using Aruba’s 802.11ac AP-220 Series access points for both indoor and outdoor coverage of the student housing areas, AirWave Network Management, and the ClearPass Access Management System to securely on-board and register many of the 50,000 unique devices the University sees on the network, on average.

The University was already using Aruba 802.11n AP-135 and 134 access points and Mobility Access Switches on campus to cover its academic and administrative areas and according to Chan, 95 percent of the campus has wireless coverage now, with the addition of the student housing facilities. As the University’s needs evolve – including a move to offer more online courses or mixed classrooms – Chan sees West Chester eventually moving to 802.11ac and all-wireless for the entire campus.

“Since we recently upgraded many campus buildings to 802.11n and that network is operating well, we won’t be changing this immediately,” he noted. “However, I definitely see our student housing deployment giving us the confidence to move toward an all-wireless campus in the future.”

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.

Listed on the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 Index, Aruba is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.