Deakin University boosts wireless network

Wireless coverage increases from 28 per cent to 82 per cent

A “mediocre at best” wireless network lead Deakin University CDO William Confalonieri to start looking at an upgrade in 2013.

The university has 52,000 students and 5000 staff. The majority of students had a laptop, smart phone and tablet and the university's old wireless network struggled to cope with increased mobile device usage, leading to connectivity problems.

There was only 28 per cent wireless coverage across the university’s four campuses.

Confalonieri contacted Dimension Data to develop a solution which would meet the university’s wireless challenges; a project he dubbed ‘Deakin Connected’.

Dimension Data Australia networking national manager Gregg Sultana said that more than 500 wireless access points were installed along with an upgrade of over 100 existing points, all managed by WLAN controllers.

“We needed to address the poor coverage and performance of the existing solution,” Sultana said. “To do that, we performed a wireless survey, which consists of an on-site walk around to understand any of the physical limitations of the environment, as well as a predictive analysis using our site survey tools.”

Now, 30,000 devices can be connected to the network simultaneously. Wireless coverage has been increased across the university to 82 per cent, with up to 91 per cent coverage in student areas such as study halls.

“The reality is that this coverage is more than enough because in that remaining percentage, coverage is not usable,” said Confalonieri.

The wireless coverage upgrade has supported other Deakin University technology projects such as Smart Campus. This uses IBM Watson to answer questions from the school’s students by way of Web and mobile interfaces.

The platform is embedded in DeakinSync, a digital hub which provides students with their information needs from any location at any time of the day.

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