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Davidson College Upgrades to Campus Wide Wi-Fi Network

We liked the fact that SecurEdge had been designing and building these types of large scale wireless networks for other schools as well as many large hospital systems for years. We had talked to other companies out there, but SecurEdge had the expertise and experience we felt comfortable with.
- Rob Smith, Director of Systems & Networks, Davidson College
Business Challenges

Davidson College is a highly selective independent liberal arts College of nearly 2,000 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, NC. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the College has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts Colleges in the country.

As a highly respected institution, Davidson prides itself in having the best technology in place to support learning functions, student activities, and the needs of the faculty and staff. Since 2008, Davidson has seen the demand to provide wireless coverage on campus increase exponentially each year. Today, the average student at Davidson has 3-5 Wi-Fi Enabled devices, many of the faculty members carry iPads and iPhones, and the learning initiatives continue to move towards online testing platforms and multimedia delivered over wireless. Challenges:

  • Consolidation of multiple existing wireless systems on campus
  • Outdoor solution to cover large common areas where students gather
  • Resolve the "hotspot" type of coverage being provided to the academic buildings
  • Support high-density areas and BYOD
  • Ability for users to use multiple devices on average of 3-5 per student/faculty member
  • Central management system (NAC, MDM) to provide maximum visibility, control and flexibility
Our Solution

Davidson tapped SecurEdge Networks to help engineer a wireless network solution that would help them support the demanding needs of their faculty, staff, and students. With several different wireless systems to manage, a lack of complete coverage, and very limited wireless management tools it was very difficult to provide high levels of security for the different groups of users (students, faculty, staff, and guests) and to troubleshoot the many different types of mobile devices that were showing up on campus (iPads, iPhones, Android devices, etc.).  Davidson wanted to provide support for all those devices with the highest levels of security. SecurEdge Networks, a Platinum Aruba Networks partner, worked with the network group at Davidson College to put together a wireless system combining products from industry leader Aruba Networks with large campus design and wireless engineering services from SecurEdge. Our Solution:

  • Single management dashboard
  • Complete coverage using a single interface for visibility
  • Real-time reporting
  • Network Access Control
  • High-Availability
Results

The Aruba Wireless solution provided Davidson a single management dashboard for all wireless users and devices regardless of whether the user is in a residence hall, academic building, outdoors, or even at a remote campus site.  The Aruba Networks wireless solution was designed to provide complete coverage with a single interface for visibility and real time reporting.  It even incorporates advanced features like Network Access Control (NAC) and high availability to ensure the network would always be up for those late night research papers and study sessions.

Because of where they're at now, Davidson’s IT Department has the ability to look to the future, instead of just trying to keep their heads above water. For example, streaming IP TV over the Wi-Fi network for the students, wireless video surveillance for safety, and Wi-Fi enabled communications for the staff. A year from now who knows what type of mobile devices Davidson will use to improve services on campus.