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It’s the beginning of a new school year. Students return to the Neumann University campus, bringing their ever-expanding array of mobile devices—along with high expectations for being online anytime. The students moving into the four residence halls, or dorms, are the heaviest users of the wireless network. They eagerly log onto the campus Wi-Fi network to start using the Internet. But the connections aren’t what they’re expecting. And they’re vocal about their frustration.
Jon Wisniewski is the network administrator at Neumann University. “Every semester, about three-quarters of help desk complaints were from frustrated students trying to use the WLAN. When students are unhappy, everyone is unhappy.”
It’s difficult to say who was more frustrated with the old Wi-Fi network: the students and faculty or the university’s 12-person IT team. The existing WLAN added a disproportionate amount of operational overhead and expense. “The WLAN wasn’t just unreliable, it wasn’t maintainable by a small IT staff,” says Jon. “We needed a network that supported student productivity and the deployment of new educational models. But we also needed a solution that didn’t require dedicating expensive, full-time IT resources to keep it up and running.”