An upgrade of the University of New South Wales’ Wi-Fi network is underway which could offer students speeds of up to 1.3 Gigabits per second.
UNSW communication services manager Greg Sawyer said the increased bandwidth is essential to cope with the estimated 20,000 devices on the network.
“The students have, on average, three devices because they’re using a phone, laptop and tablet,” he said.
There are approximately 2000 Wi-Fi access points installed across the main campus in Sydney. Students can access their course content, educational videos and sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The faster speeds will be made possible with the introduction of a Cisco 802.11 ac enterprise-grade cloud-managed access point. This upgrade will take place by June 2013.
Working in partnership with Cisco, the university first rolled out wireless access points in 2003.
According to Sawyer, the vendor has helped the university meet the challenge of anywhere, any time Internet that students expect.
“We think we’ll get a 300 per cent increase in speed but we will wait for the new cloud access point modules to come out to prove that,” he said.
He added that students are currently getting speeds of between two and 10 Megabits per second at peak hours in locations such as the university's library.
UNSW is also upgrading the network to manage the planned growth in high definition (HD) online learning.
“This year we are forecasting 1200 hours of classroom lectures per week will be recorded in HD which is about 2.5 terabytes of data,” he said.
Turning to security, Sawyer said that firewalls are installed so students can access the services they need online while being protected.
“We tend to stop the viruses and malware rather than blocking lots of websites. When Viagra was doing the rounds of spam email, researchers needed access to websites about Viagra,” he said.
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