May 13 2015

Fashion Institute Taps Into Enhanced Wireless

The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City knows that to prepare people for the competitive fashion industry, its students and faculty must have access to mobile technology.

Deals and trade shows in the fashion industry are conducted all over the world, and attendees expect to have full mobile access while they’re there. Many FIT students also juggle work and family, and require the flexibility that mobility offers.

FIT plans to upgrade its entire campus with Aruba 802.11ac wireless access points over the next few years. The work started in January, CIO Gregg Chottiner says, and teams took just under three months to deploy 802.11ac APs for the 3,000 students who live on campus. Inside the main dorm, IT deployed about 20 APs per floor.

“The new APs offer some excellent coverage in the dorms and get to spots that the older APs couldn’t cover,” he says. “Some of the dorms are more than 40 years old, so it was important for us to have APs that could provide coverage on all the floors and through some of the old concrete walls.”

Over the next three years, Chottiner and his team will deploy 802.11ac APs in the open areas, offices, classrooms, gyms and bathrooms. The team will deploy three to four APs in all classrooms, he says.

“What we really liked about Aruba compared with some of the competitors is that it is purpose-built as a wireless solution,” Chottiner says. “We’ll also be testing Aruba switches throughout the year with an eye toward deploying them on the back end.”

While cost savings are possible in the future,especially as FIT rolls out more efficient Aruba switches, Chottiner says the main benefits to date are improved coverage and increased bandwidth capabilities. The Aruba 802.11ac access points promise gigabit-level bandwidth speeds.

Matthias Kulka/Glow Images