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Wireless Networking

American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.

A growing number of staff and students are using personal mobile devices to access institutional applications. To protect campus systems, university leaders must figure out how to maintain a separation between school and personal information on devices. This web seminar, originally presented on October 29, 2013, featured mobile industry experts who discussed the challenges and solutions around protecting university systems, including how university data can be isolated, mobile device management, and preserving user device choice.

John Fragola (left) and Peter Grady use iPads to monitor the heat inside Dana English Hall on the Mount Carmel campus at Quinnipiac University. Both are licensed HVAC mechanics in the facilities department.

Members of the facilities crew at Quinnipiac University were spending a lot of time traveling back to their shop during the workday.

This situation, of course, was not unique to Quinnipiac, but department officials at the school set out to eliminate the trips workers had to make to retrieve new work orders, find information about equipment in manuals or look up floor plans. The central Connecticut institution has a 212-acre main campus, and two branches that are a half-mile and about five miles away.

60 percent of students say they would not attend an institution that does not provide extensive Wi-Fi, according to a December 2011 Educause study.

Students come onto campus expecting high-performing Wi-Fi not just in their dorms and classrooms, but everywhere from the stadium bleachers to the quad.

  • Hire a Wi-Fi integrator to assess your needs.
  • Think about the needs of everyone on campus (not just students).
  • Determine a level of performance that can support the busiest times of day.
  • Don’t scrimp on access points (APs) or other hardware.
  • Place outdoor APs under building overhangs to minimize the chance for damage.

The team that first explored bringing a shared services model to the University of Michigan couldn’t help but notice some vast inefficiencies when it broke down the $325 million being spent on IT. Excluding the university’s massive health system, the analysis revealed multiple networks, data centers, and server closets, with 35 different email systems and more than 150 organizations maintaining computers for faculty and staff.

Sharing information on the go is second nature to today’s college student. That reality is pushing higher ed leaders to leverage that connectivity to build a more interactive learning environment. Smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and other mobile devices offer flexibility in extending the learning space beyond the classroom and getting students more engaged.

Protecting any enterprise from security threats can be a daunting endeavor, but few organizational structures are more difficult to secure than a college or university. Students, faculty, administrators and alumni—each group has differing IT needs, creating not just one, but many unique security challenges.

Integrating mobile devices in learning is getting to be old hat in Abilene, Texas.

As early as 2008, Abilene Christian University (ACU) was the first university in the United States to provide each incoming student with an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch. Each of the nearly 4,800 students on the ACU campus located 180 miles west of Dallas can access course calendars, campus maps, receive homework alerts, security alerts, and answer in-class surveys and quizzes, among other ACUdeveloped web applications.

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University in Chicago is the largest Catholic university in the United States. With 10 colleges divided between two campuses, along with three additional satellite campuses, finding certain pieces of information can be challenging for students.