Wireless Network for Campus

Provide anytime anywhere access to digital learning and teaching resources

Client:  University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati (UC) is a comprehensive public research university in Cincinnati, in the U.S. state of Ohio, and a part of the University System of Ohio.

Founded in 1819 as Cincinnati College, it is the oldest institution of higher education in Cincinnati and has an annual enrollment of over 40,000 students, making it the second largest university in Ohio and one of the largest universities in the United States.

Business Issue:
The recently installed president of the University of Cincinnati incorporated a major technology initiative into his strategic plan for the school.   One major goal as part of the UC 2019 Strategic Plan was to have 100% wireless Internet covering the campus by the end of 2012.   Knowing that today’s technology savvy students expect wireless coverage, his vision of an enterprise-class wireless network would help enable the university to compete with larger colleges for enrollment.  

CBTS Solution:
UC began their research on wireless networks by working with four senior students from one of the university’s college programs. They collaborated on a senior project based on the evolving IEEE 802.11n wireless standard. The project focused on evaluating solutions from three of the leading wireless networking companies at that time and making a recommendation on which solution was most ready for 802.11n deployment.  The students’ choice was Aruba.   The next step was to ask Aruba and another global networking company to present their solutions for wireless Location Based Services (LBS).   Tests were set up with each company to determine if a student could be located via their Wi-Fi device during any type of security incident that might be called into the Campus Security Office.  The evaluators gave the highest rating to Aruba. 

Having partnered with CBTS on many successful technology projects in the past, UC chose CBTS to initially purchase and deploy 685 Aruba access points on campus. The next major project turned into a purchase of an additional 900 access points for 802.11n wireless deployment in the Campus Residence Halls.  Work began in June 2011 and by the end of 2012, a total of 4,000+ access points were installed across the entire campus to meet the president’s goal of 100% campus wireless coverage. 

In addition, the university recently purchased an Aruba Amigopod solution with 10,000 concurrent licenses. This solution is used for authenticating student devices onto the wireless network and for allowing guests and employees with mobile devices to self-register for secure network access. 

Products Used
  • Aruba 6000/M3 Controllers with Policy Enforcement Firewall capabilities
  • Aruba Access Points (AP-125 and AP-135 802.11n AP’s)
  • Airwave Management for ubiquitous WLAN management across the entire WLAN
  • Aruba Amigopod Guest Management Portal

CBTS partnered with Aruba to install the Access Points.

Other university locations off the main campus have chosen the CBTS/Aruba solution to deploy additional access points to reach their wireless goals.  The university cites the ease of use, as well as the support that CBTS provides, as the main factors in this successful technology initiative.

“We must have had the right idea, because we built it and they came,” said Diana Noelcke, Assistant Vice President, IT UCIT-Enterprise Communications. Noelcke and her team planned and implemented the project with the support of equipment, analysis and configuration from Aruba and CBTS.

“We accomplished this goal in less than two years, and that’s because UC recognized how important the investment in wireless access is for our future,” said Nelson Vincent, Vice President of UC Information Technologies. “Robust wireless coverage on campus provides key support for the UC2019 strategic plan. Anytime, anywhere access to digital resources and tools throughout UC’s buildings and dorms is an important milestone for increased digital capacity that directly supports 21st Century teaching, learning and research.”