Wireless: High Density Suggestions at LSU


Availability of High Density Wireless at LSU

This message is intended to educate you, the Technical Service Professionals at LSU, on wireless and the challenges ITS faces with high density deployments.  Should your department begin to consider moving towards requiring laptops or tablets for its curriculum, ITS-UNI should be contacted to survey the wireless deployment in your area.  This survey will determine the extent of expansion needed to support a high density of wireless devices in a classroom setting and determine an associated cost.

 Departments intending on moving to a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio should also consider standardizing on the types of devices students are required to have and making recommendations to students on what they should purchase.  ITS-UNI can assist with guidance on device types that have proven to operate well in our environment which requires authentication and encryption versus devices with which problems have been experienced.

Wireless at LSU began in the early 2000’s.  By 2005, Wifi was prevalent in the higher education community.  In the initial Flagship IT Strategy (FITS) document, former CIO Brian Voss charged University Networking and Infrastructure with the task of providing full coverage for all indoor facilities at LSU.  This meant all indoor space at LSU would have some sort of usable 802.11 wireless signal.  That wireless signal was intended to be supplemental to the LSU wired data network.

Over the years, UNI has continued to improve the wireless network, by introducing new technologies to support advances in the 802.11 standard as well as adding more Wireless Access Points (WAPs) to fill voids in coverage while maintaining medium density coverage.

Higher Education institutions are trending towards requiring students to have portable devices, either laptops or tablets, as a requirement for many curriculums.  Given these trends, most institutions are redesigning key areas of their wireless network deployment to accommodate higher densities in classroom spaces housing those curriculums requiring a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio.  Strategies for increasing the number of WAPs installed, including using directional antennas to concentrate wireless signals from multiple WAPs in small areas and moving away from 802.11b/g to 802.11a/n, are all being used.   Moving to 802.11 a/n is useful because these standards provide 23 non-overlapping frequencies in the 5 GHz range versus only 3 non-overlapping frequencies in the 2.4 GHz range for 802.11 b/g standards.  

Providing full, high density coverage in all indoor spaces on the LSU campus would require, in most instances, doubling the number of installed WAPs. (approximately 2,500 installed, increasing to nearly 5,000.)

Please contact ITS should your department consider requiring students have portable devices in the classroom.  Increased density of devices will, in most instances, require ITS to increase wireless capacity in your area.

 

Referenced from: LSU.edu 

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