Northern Michigan University deploys WLAN System from Meru Networks

October 31, 2005

3 Min Read

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Meru Networks, the global leader in wireless VoIP infrastructure, today announced that Northern Michigan University (NMU), a leading public university based in Marquette, Michigan, has deployed Meru's Wireless LAN System to give students and faculty access to critical e-learning applications. Serving the University's faculty and 9,600+ student population, Meru's WLAN System is delivering levels of density and scalability that have not previously been realized in the WLAN market.

With one of the most advanced IT departments in the country and standard-issue IBM ThinkPad notebook computers for every student, NMU relies on its wireless LAN to deliver e-learning applications in lecture halls, classrooms and other campus facilities that do not have Ethernet wiring to the desk. Students and faculty use the applications daily to submit assignments, review lecture notes and take quizzes. However, the mixture of 802.11 b and g clients, and the density of these environments -- a single lecture hall requiring simultaneous support of 800+ users in a building of only 82,060 square feet with single access points commonly supporting 75 users -- made successful deployment of traditional WLANs impossible. The University had previously deployed an LWAPP-based wireless LAN system, but found that as the number of simultaneous users per access point increased, connectivity issues resulted. In addition, 802.11b clients significantly lowered the throughput of 802.11g users.

By deploying Meru's WLAN System with its Air Traffic Control technology, NMU found it could support far greater density of users -- in some cases, over 100 users connecting through a single access point -- with no degradation in quality or throughput. By supporting such a high density of users while maintaining service quality, Meru's solution reduced the total number of access points the University needed to deploy in the network, thereby decreasing both their capital expenditures and operational costs. In addition, Meru's Air Traffic Control technology gives NMU a future-proof wireless network that can handle increasingly advanced applications, such as wireless VoIP, without any upgrade to the network infrastructure.

"Meru's WLAN System was the only solution that could effectively address the density and scalability issues we had in delivering wireless connectivity to our lecture halls and classrooms," said Dave Maki, Director of Technical Services for NMU. "Our users no longer have bandwidth issues and because we've reduced the total number of APs in the network, we've also been able to lower our costs."

"Like many universities, NMU recognized the benefits of wireless connectivity, but grappled with the challenges of supporting large numbers of users in relatively small areas such as their lecture halls," said Joel Vincent, Director of Marketing, Meru Networks. "With our WLAN System and unique Air Traffic Control technology, we've overcome these obstacles, enabling high performance and throughput in the highest density environments, while simultaneously providing a network infrastructure that can accommodate future applications like wireless VoIP. NMU's progressive IT department recognized the value of a wireless infrastructure that addresses its users' needs today and is ready for the future."

Meru Networks Inc.

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