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Best college campus wifi

Posted on 2013-06-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-06-06
We have multiple buildings and large exterior green spaces for communal socializing. Some of the buildings are old (60 years plus) some are new (3 years).  We are located in Texas.
We are a school with 2,000 students and 400 employees. We have 3,000 visitors attending workshops and seminars and luncheons annually.

We have a 150 HP Procurve PoE switch infrastructure.

There are several postings discussing "Best WiFi" but they are dated, i.e. 2007, 2009.

Explain why your preference is the best for you and why it would perfectly fit the environment described above.  (i.e. "Aruba Rocks" is a useless answer" to me.)

Thanks in advance.
Question by:dts3909

Assisted Solution

ded_ch earned 600 total points
ID: 39223811
Have a look at Ruckus Wireless.

You can get it as a cloud based solution where your access points connect via the internet to a control system which allows you to control all of your devices remotely.

Or you can get a local control unit that you put in your LAN.

All the Ruckus Wireless AP's have omnidirectional antennas with automatic antenna positioning. That allows for optimal coverage for an area.

It also helps in keeping your network secure, as rouge access points are detected and alarms can be triggered (e.g. somebody sets up a rouge access point with the same SSID as yours to trick users to connect to it).

You can have non technical staff connect the AP's to the network where they automatically load their configuration from the control unit.

We are using these devices in our international language schools and so far are very happy with the results.

And they do support PoE by the way.

Oh and also, their range of access points is very nice. They have specific devices for every possible use, indoors, outdoors, wet areas ect. So you can have all those different devices be controlled over the same control unit. And thus cover every area you wish to.

You can also easily setup guest WLANS for "internet only" access and an internal WLAN for intranet access.
LVL 22

Accepted Solution

Jakob Digranes earned 840 total points
ID: 39223909
Aruba doesn't just rock, it kicks ass as well !!

But seriously - down to business.
I think we need some more information on:
- How do students authenticate?
- i guess its BYOD
- What services, most likely, will you provide?

I'd go for Aruba, which is what I've been working on for the last 4 years. 4 years of Meru before that and 2 with Cisco way way back in the days.

In general terms - no matter what vendor you'd go for, consider this:

- Dual Radio APs - giving you APs that can broadcast both 2,4 Ghz and 5 Ghz band. You can have load balancing between bands (this is - in some way, 2 APs in one) - and the 5Ghz is good in areas with a lot of interference, just google co-channel interference in 2,4Ghz and you'll see why

- of course 802.11n at least. 802.11ac is backwards compatible with 802.11n - but look at power consumption of 802.11ac APs, they might use more Watts.

- your wired infrastructure should be Gbit to the APs, as they're 300Mbps (or more) - so putting them on 100Mbps is somewhat a waste (I know - this depends on how good your AP is also --- but still)

- Mouting of APs. Take a look at antenna layout to make sure they're mounted the correct way. Some are made for ceiling mount, other wall mount

- 1000s of things to consider regarding authentication. We can get back to this ---

So --- why Aruba

- Controllerbased setup, where all APs are handled from one central point. The Controllers can be set up in either stand-alone, master-local configuration where most configuration is done on master and replicated to local controllers, and controller specific settings are set locally (like VLANs and ports), and two controllers in a High-Availability set up.
They also have controllers-less APs (Instant APs) where the first AP configured serves as Master. But your installation is too large for those

- All APs tunnel traffic to controller, so you don't have to deploy all VLANs to the APs over the switches. You can have 8 SSIDs with 8 different VLANS, but the VLANs only exist on the controller and your firewall and switches in the datacenter. So you don't have to reconfigure your switces

- VLAN pooling. Being able to create 10 VLANs with 200 IPs in each, bundle these in a pool and let a SSID use all 10, and still let users roam. Having 2000 users in the same VLAN is no good

- Adaptive Radio Management. All APs take 10ms in between traffice handling to scan radio area, and will controll channel change, load balancing of bands dynamically - so all APs will have a healthy channel set up

- App and User visibility. What users are logged in, what applications are in use, how much airtime and bandwidth do they use?

- Integrated stateful firewall in controller. Stop traffice before it hits your internal network

- Being able to set QoS on encrypted traffic, like Lync VOiP and Video Calls

- remote Access Points - Access points handed out to employees, that they connect at home and they automatically broadcast your corporate SSID with corporate security settings and direct VPN to office --- at home, or in a temporary facility

- Aruba Airwave (extra software) so you can monitor coverage, client behaviour and traffic and client history both live and several weeks and months back in time

- They will soon launch a software update adressing the Sticky Clients issues where PCs are connected to the first AP they see - not the strongest one, nearby

--- thats some selling points.

I bet the next post will be from someone meaning Cisco is the best ... :-)

But even so - whatever you mount in the ceiling or on the walls - if it is Aruba, Cisco, Meru or Aerohive -- configured correctly, it will work and you probably won't regret either one ...

Assisted Solution

J30A4 earned 60 total points
ID: 39224068
+1 for Ruckus Wireless.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39226327
Thanks all !!

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