Jan 04 2018

Universities Make Upgrades to Connectivity via Wave 2 Wi-Fi

Higher-speed internet has the potential to boost university tech deployment.

College campuses nationwide have an abundance of internet-connected devices — from Internet of Things technology in buildings to students’ smartphones. To ensure a quality experience for everyone connected to a university network, IT administrators need to make sure the network is agile enough.

Enter 802.11ac Wave 2, a Wi-Fi standard that can deliver speeds as fast or faster than wired connections — potentially a physical layer rate of 2.34Gbps. Computer Weekly calls it the foundation upon which the IoT’s potential can be fully realized.

As more universities look to create efficiencies through IoT, while maintaining fast connectivity for student devices, Wave 2 can allow it all to happen. Some universities are already on their way to realizing that potential.

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Wave 2 Deployments Prepare Universities for the Future

Late in 2015, Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. adopted Wave 2 technology from Ruckus Wireless in order to keep up with the growing number of devices on campus, according to a 2017 press release from the school. Evangel claims to be the first university in the country to use Wave 2.

“IT doesn’t have any control as to which devices and how many students bring to campus,” says Rich Kusak, senior manager of systems and data at Evangel, in the release. “The expectation is that it just needs to work everywhere.”

Thanks to Wave 2 technology, this expectation is now being met on Evangel’s campus. Kusak says that positive student feedback is proving the return on investment for the tech update.

At the University at Buffalo, a network upgrade with Aruba 802.11ac Wave 2 access points not only helped meet the demands of campus end users, but also supported digital academic offerings. Campus Technology reports that UB’s overhaul in early 2017 was due in part to the expansion of online and hybrid courses, which require students to access more video content, and the growing use of apps in the classroom.

A UB survey revealed a 21 percent increase in student satisfaction in residence halls equipped with Wave 2 technology compared with halls that were not. Campus Technology reports that the stronger network will enable the university to prep for IoT and mobile engagement tactics.

Stronger Access Points Can Enhance Security

Wave 2 access points themselves don’t just provide stronger internet connections, they also pack enough power to serve double duty.

Extreme NetworksExtremeWireless 3916ic pairs an access point with an indoor security camera, meaning universities can easily add smart surveillance.

“Adding more cameras can improve security, but networking them together isn’t always easy,” writes John Breeden II in a review on EdTech.

While offering impressive Wave 2 coverage, the access point also enables the security camera to record high-resolution images and sounds, so it boosts both connectivity and security.

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