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Educational WiFi: Still Fat

Wireless management software firm AirWave Wireless Inc. says its new survey shows that the standalone AP is still gaining prominence in educational WLAN applications but the balance will shift towards centrally managed AP networks over the next couple of years.

Educational establishments have been at the forefront of the WiFi revolution and even today run some of the largest WLAN networks in existence. Just this week, Ohio State University announced that it is using Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) gear to deploy what may be the largest WLAN network in the world.(See Aruba Wins at Ohio State.)

Airwave says that the survey, conducted in August, included a random sampling of IT departments and network administrators from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada. 64 percent of respondents today have wireless networks with 100 or more access points with plans to expand; 11 percent have more than 1,000 APs in place today.

The survey showed that 67 percent of the establishments have "fat" access points today; 35 percent use a centralized "thin" AP architecture; and 18 percent use both thick and thin APs simultaneously.

"I was surprised at this too," Airwave's COO Greg Murphy. He had expected more centralized systems to be in place.

The survey finds, however, that within two years, 65 percent expect to use skinny APs and 43 percent expect to operate "multi-architecture" wireless networks.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

wifi_ab 12/5/2012 | 3:37:55 AM
re: Educational WiFi: Still Fat I am not surprised by these survey results.

Education (higher Ed) is a perfect mobile society and there requirements are even more complex than enterprise ...this is the reason we are just begining to see large networks.

Dense unmanaged user populations in old historic buildings, dorms, classrooms, libraries, stadiums, teaching hotels, teaching hospitals and open areas make higher-ed like a mini-city.

Providing pervasive access here with VoIP is a takes a network that can enable a large mobility and security domain with tiered management structure.

Enforcing client security on unmanaged clients and legacy AP management and interoperability is very important to this group.

I will submit that there will be a many more large education networks in the next 12 months as these capabilities are just becoming real in customers' minds.

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