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Published on December 17th, 2014 | by David Frith


California State University, Los Angeles is First CSU Campus to Deploy Aruba Networks Full Gigabit Wi-Fi Infrastructure

 Cal State L.A. Upgrades to All-802.11ac Network to Enable Collaborative Learning and Support More Than 27,000 Students, Faculty and Staff

Aruba Networks, Inc. today announced that California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State L.A.), which has been recognized as one of the top 20 comprehensive universities in the United States by Washington Monthly, has deployed a campus-wide Aruba Gigabit Wi-Fi network. While many of the 23 California State University campuses have started to upgrade to 802.11ac, Cal State L.A. is the first to implement an infrastructure that is completely 802.11ac. The new network will accommodate the surge in wireless devices and mobile applications being used on campus and provide the performance necessary to support new education technologies while enhancing classroom collaboration.

Cal State L.A. had an 802.11n infrastructure in place, but found that the old network could not deliver the comprehensive indoor and outdoor coverage nor the speed and reliability that its 24,488 students and nearly 3,000 faculty and staff members required. After a thorough review of wireless vendors, Aruba was selected by the CSU system to provide Cal State L.A. with a new 802.11ac network, covering 23 academic buildings and outdoor campus areas.

Technology has become an integral component of academic achievement and engaged campus life,” said Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino. “Cal State L.A. is committed to excellence, and it is a priority that our students, faculty and staff have the best service possible for their mobile devices, including access to a network that can accommodate the newest devices and the fastest wireless features.

The growing use of mobile devices on campus, specifically the introduction and fast adoption of the new generation of 802.11ac devices, and the reliance on mobile apps for both academics and collaboration, prompted us to look at upgrading to Gigabit Wi-Fi,” said Peter Quan, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Cal State L.A.. “With the Aruba 802.11ac infrastructure, we can see a direct link between the performance it delivers and our ability to support teaching and learning, as well as engage students everywhere on campus.

Cal State L.A.’s new network is comprised of Aruba AP-220 Series 802.11ac access points (APs) and Aruba 270 Series Outdoor 802.11ac APs – both with Aruba’s patented ClientMatch™ technology, which continuously matches mobile devices to the best access points as they roam through the campus, and Aruba AppRFTM technology, which features an integrated next generation mobility firewall that identifies, polices and prioritizes the handling of over 1,500 apps, including cloud and social media apps.

Cal State L.A. is also using Aruba’s AirWave Network Management System, which gives them complete visibility into the network. AirWave allows Cal State L.A. to identify the connections on the network, the mobile devices, and how much bandwidth specific devices are consuming, so the University can proactively plan for capacity, visualize client performance and troubleshoot connectivity issues. Cal State L.A. has also deployed Aruba’s ClearPass Access Management System for device registration and authentication, as well as policy management.

Improved device performance has been an important benefit of the new Aruba network. Since the deployment, 802.11ac devices have been performing at Gigabit speeds and, with ClientMatch, even 802.11n devices are performing three times faster than on the old network. “In the first few weeks that school was back in session, we saw over 11,000 802.11ac devices on the network and the students have been pleased with their performance,” said Quan. “As the iPhone 6 and 6+ gain market traction, we expect to see even more .11ac devices on the network. We have confidence that our new infrastructure can handle the connectivity requirements of these new devices, as well as any new applications that we deploy in the future.

Looking ahead, Cal State L.A. is investigating Aruba’s AirGroup capability, which makes it easy for mobile devices to wirelessly print and share media that leverages UPnP, DLNA, AirPrint and AirPlay technology while ensuring quality of service (QoS). With AirGroup, University professors will be able to conveniently leverage Apple TVs and devices in classrooms for more collaborative learning.

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David Frith

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