The explosion of mobile devices has created a new kind of wireless environment for both colleges and universities. The ability to have instant, reliable and secure connectivity no matter where you are on campus has changed the way everyone interacts with your wireless network.
The experience has transcended the classroom and moved to almost every building on your campus. From libraries to sports stadiums to coffee houses, courtyards and dorm rooms, everyone from students to faculty to guests have grown to expect a certain level of quality when it comes to wireless access.
In order to satisfy today's students and teachers expectations you have to provide them with a seamless Wi-Fi experience. To support this demand effectively and creating the experience that benefits everyone means specifically planning for outdoor Wi-Fi.
Let's face it, even the smallest community college can still cover a large area, in some cases even spanning a few square miles. Inside of these large areas are a multitude of outdoor locations that require Wi-Fi access. Besides the challenge of distance, you're also dealing with:
Large campus-wide wireless deployments are costly and time-consuming to begin with, adding outdoor wireless access to the mix adds another level to your already full plate.
Outdoor Wi-Fi is a must, if you have limited resources start with your most populated, high-density areas first. Make sure you start with a great foundation not just a good one. It's okay to start small but you have to start off right. If you choose a wireless platform that is limited in scope and functionality you'll never be able to grow.
It's important to find a complete mobility system. For example, you might find one solution that is perfect for outdoor Wi-Fi but offers no answers for your indoor needs. The last thing you want is to end up with multiple disparate systems that back you into a corner.
It seems pretty simple but not understanding your school's users, devices and applications are still some of the most overlooked elements when designing for campus-wide mobility.
What kind of devices will be used on your network? What types of applications will be used over the network? What are their capabilities and limitations? This information can help you design an outdoor network that works with your users.