SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aruba Networks, an HP company (NYSE:HPQ), today announced that the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) is deploying an Aruba Networks 802.11ac Wave 1 and Wave 2 wireless LAN to provide pervasive, secure connectivity for its 31,000 students and staff. UNC Charlotte, which has seen a dramatic increase in the number of wireless devices as well as heightened demand for new educational technologies in the classroom, selected Aruba to replace its previous Meru network after evaluating both Aruba and Cisco solutions.
“Like most universities, we have seen an explosion in Wi-Fi usage on campus with the influx of #GenMobile, who have a strong preference for mobility in terms of the devices they use and their ‘anytime, anywhere’ approach to schoolwork and entertainment. Today, our students carry an average of three devices on campus and we expect that figure to climb as wearables grow in popularity,” said Michael Carlin, CIO for UNC Charlotte.
Carlin noted that UNC Charlotte’s prior infrastructure could not keep up with the growing demand for reliable, campus-wide wireless access, nor the security expectations of their IT department. The University began a Proof of Concept evaluation, deploying 802.11ac solutions from Aruba and Cisco in two of the densest locations on campus. UNC Charlotte selected Aruba for its superior ability to support higher data speeds and handle greater device densities.
“Aruba’s solution was the fastest, both from a device association perspective as well as overall general use. Quite simply, Aruba provided better, broader, and speedier coverage,” said Carlin.
A key factor in UNC Charlotte’s decision was Aruba’s 320 series APs, the industry’s first 802.11ac Wave 2 APs with dynamic multi-user multiple input/multiple output (MU-MIMO) grouping. Previously, an AP stream could only transmit to one device at a time and other clients had to wait their turn. With Aruba’s MU-MIMO aware ClientMatch® technology, the 320 series APs can group Wave 2-capable devices on the same stream, significantly boosting network capacity. The University is primarily deploying these Wave 2 APs, which will allow them to best address the growing number of high-density areas on campus. The 320 series is also the only Wave 2 AP in its class to integrate a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacon, which enables organizations to provide indoor location and wayfinding, deliver proximity-aware push notifications and offer other location-based mobile engagement services.
Supporting the indoor and outdoor Aruba 802.11ac APs is Aruba’s ClearPass Policy Manager, which the University is using for both its wired and wireless infrastructure, and Aruba’s vendor-agnostic AirWave network management, which provides UNC Charlotte with granular visibility for its entire access infrastructure.
The new infrastructure is enabling the University’s faculty to incorporate a wide range of educational technologies into their instructional methods. Said Bret Wood, a professor with UNC Charlotte’s Dept. of Kinesiology, “With my large courses, the wireless network enables me to perform in-class proctored testing on Moodle. In my smaller courses, all of the students use tablet technology for app-based learning, shared communications, on-the-fly presentations, quizzing and testing. A robust Wi-Fi network is critical to enabling these classroom innovations and improving student learning.”
Looking ahead, the new infrastructure will allow UNC Charlotte to convert 60,000 square feet of dedicated computer labs to flexible, multi-functional teaching spaces that can transform from traditional, lecture-based set-ups to more collaborative ‘flipped’ models. The University also is examining the possibility of deploying wireless access in its outdoor Jerry Richardson Stadium and indoor Dale F. Halton Arena.
“With our new Aruba infrastructure, including the Wave 2 APs, there are a host of exciting new possibilities for enhancing the overall on-campus experience for our students, faculty and guests,” stated Carlin. “We are already investigating ways to use the APs’ built-in beacons to deliver location-relevant information and student services in the library and at other sites on campus.”
About Aruba Networks, an HP company
Aruba Networks, an HP company, is a leading provider of next-generation networking solutions for enterprises of all sizes worldwide. The company delivers IT solutions that empower organizations to serve the latest generation of mobile-savvy users who rely on cloud-based business apps for every aspect of their work and personal lives.
To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.
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