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SMU's Cox School of Business

SMU's Cox School of Business Looks to the Future with Extreme Networks

At SMU's Cox School of Business, tomorrow’s business leaders are re-envisioning how the world does business. With a full range of business education programs - from BBA and full-time MBA to Professional MBA (PMBA), Executive MBA (EMBA), Masters of Science in Accounting, and Executive Education - it is no wonder SMU Cox is ranked among the top business schools nationally and internationally.

The school’s unique educational experiences, including the SMU Cox Business Leadership Center (BLC), Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, American Airlines Global Leadership Program (GLP), and the Associate Board Executive Mentoring Program, are evidence of SMU Cox’s commitment to charting the future of business. So when it came time to replace the school’s aging network infrastructure, the Cox School of Business naturally wanted a technology leader that shared its vision. The school wanted Extreme Networks.

“Our networks are as critical to the mission of our organization as any enterprise environment,” explains Allen Gwinn, Senior Director of Technology. “We’ve partnered with Extreme Networks because they understand the dynamic nature of the business school’s environment and provide solutions that can get us where we want to go.”

When SMU Cox moved forward with the construction of its new Collins Executive Center, the school saw an opportunity to upgrade the existing network infrastructure. A new 10 gigabit network would not only enable new applications, such as video, but also provide a building block for the future. The school evaluated several options for a forklift upgrade of the entire Cox campus, and selected Extreme Networks.

“We wanted to be able to go as fast as we could on the backbone while enabling gigabit to the desktop,” notes Gwinn. “Extreme Networks provides the performance and throughput we were looking for on a network that is manageable and flexible.”

The construction of a new executive center was the driving force behind the forklift upgrade of the Cox campus. The Collins Executive Center, slated to open in June 2005, will be the premier resource for business professionals and executives as they seek to enhance their education and training. The Center, designed by the internationally recognized Hillier Group, will be a self-contained, state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility.

The new network will be equally impressive. Consisting of Extreme Networks Summit, fixed configuration switches, Alpine chassis switches, BlackDiamond 8810 modular switches, and Altitude wireless access points, the network will provide students and staff with fast, secure access to campus resources as well as the Internet. This anytime, anywhere access is mandatory in today’s 24x7 educational environment.

“The network has become a critical enabler of collaboration, communication and learning,” says Gwinn. “As a world-class business school, SMU Cox sought a world-class networking solution.”

Simplified, unified management of both the wired and wireless network was vital to the success of the new infrastructure. As the campus continues to grow, add new applications and services, and evolve to meet the needs of faculty and students, network management needed to remain seamless and straightforward.

Based on Gigabit Ethernet, the Extreme Networks solution delivers a simplified approach to network management and administration, including the ability to perform either web-based or command line administration. EPICenter, Extreme Networks management suite, simplifies configuration, troubleshooting and status monitoring of the network while streamlining common tasks.

“The ability to unify management of the wired and wireless network saves time and resources, and lets our staff focus on strategic initiatives instead of managing separate networks,” explains Gwinn.

With Extreme Networks Unified Access Architecture?, the access points are simply another port on the switch. Using AccessAdapt, the innovative software from Extreme Networks for centralized, switch-based management, tedious access point configuration challenges are eliminated. Antenna options and a dual-radio design that maximizes capacity combine to deliver a flexible and fast solution ready to help meet any wireless networking challenge facing SMU Cox.

The considerable network upgrade undertaken by SMU Cox will provide the school with a foundation for the future. As new applications and services are added to the network, Extreme Networks open architecture will give the school the flexibility to select the solutions that best meet its goals.

“Proprietary solutions limit our ability to meet the evolving technology needs of our campus, and increase maintenance and expansion costs,” says Gwinn. “We wanted a standards-based infrastructure that will interoperate with a multitude of devices and applications to leverage the full value of our network investment.”

With Extreme Networks, SMU Cox has an open, resilient and extensible network foundation for the future.

“Because we are in a dynamic industry that constantly changes, we are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve, and this includes ensuring that our technology enhances teaching and learning opportunities for our students and staff,” concludes Gwinn. “We wanted an infrastructure that provides a foundation the Cox School of Business can leverage into the future. And that’s what Extreme Networks delivered.”