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Why Enterprise Wi-Fi is Becoming Ubiquitous in the Higher Education Sector

by James Brehm 13. April 2012 13:20

Although it’s been around for years, Wi-Fi in the education market is growing by leaps and bounds. Almost daily, higher education institutions are voting with their checkbooks and selecting solutions to upgrade or augment their infrastructure.

Four short years ago, less than 15% of colleges and universities offered campus-wide wireless access. But for the past two years, we've seen a steep uptake with vendors such as Siemens Enterprise Communications, Aruba Networks, Cisco, Meru Networks, HP and others announcements on new customer wins almost weekly. By 2015, an estimated 80-85% of colleges and universities will provide campus-wide access.

Most advanced Wi-Fi solutions today provide simple centralized management systems and are optimized for delivering bandwidth intensive services while having the ability to secure the network so that unauthorized users cannot gain access. Many of these advanced solutions also allow an IT staff to deploy consistent SSIDs across multi-location campuses while having multiple user specific security rules/profiles enabled which not only makes the network secure, but also ensures a consistent user experience, building to building and campus to campus.

What’s more, many of these management platforms simplify the ability to isolate and manage remote assets which in turn can be used to provide visibility and control in the classroom (or anywhere else visibility is needed) by providing real-time remote monitoring capabilities.

Going a step beyond simply providing visibility, outliers use combinational technologies such as Location Based Services (LBS). An example is the University of Cincinnati who worked with Aruba Networks and Cincinnati Bell Wireless to set up a system for emergency call location using Wi-fi. 

Source: Aruba Networks

While areas of higher learning and research are benefitting from having wireless on campus, they will also lead us into new uses for the technology. By consuming more video, having strict security requirements, and the most transient of populations, as higher education learns how to use 802.11n, they'll surely teach other vertical markets how it is done.

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James Brehm – Senior Strategist and Technology Evangelist at Compass Intelligence. As strategist and senior consultant for Compass Intelligence, Mr. Brehm’s primary responsibilities are to provide clarity and direction to clientele by evaluating, recommending, and creating innovative market defining strategies. The scope of his work deals with all aspects of the IP value chain; from delivery infrastructure and communication management to devices and terminals and end user content/applications.

Mr. Brehm is a regular contributor to CNBC and is frequently quoted by media outlets such as WirelessWeek, RCR Wireless, the New York Times, ComputerWorld, and the San Antonio Express News and is responsible for representing Compass Intelligence at industry conferences and analyst meetings. You can you reach him at

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