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Colleagues,
 
We are planning a major renovation to a 400+ bed residence hall.  The cost for us to continue with the model of one-port-per-pillow plus a robust Cisco-N wireless network is pretty steep. Our current internal (IT) debate is whether to replace current ports with Cat 6 -- maybe one or maybe two per room (plus wireless) or move to a very robust wireless-only solution.  I checked the Educause archives and this was last discussed in January with mostly smaller-size residence halls.  I'm hoping others have grappled with this since then in larger buildings.
 
The initial implementation cost and ongoing switch maintenance is driving our discussion (versus student demand for game systems).   We believe we can find a good wireless solution for our gamers (would love to know if others have solved this wirelessly).  
 
Would like to hear from folks who have gone "wireless only" in residence halls -- What were your decision "drivers?"   What has been your experience in terms of student reactions?   Did you end up with a cost-substantial savings?
 
Sincerely
Tom Skill

--
Thomas Skill, Ph.D.
Associate Provost & CIO
Professor of Communication
Office (937) 229-3511
Fax (937) 229-4044

eMail: skill@udayton.edu

UDit
University of Dayton
300 College Park 
Dayton, OH 45469-2230

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Last year we estimated that about 15-20 % of the students used wired ports in the dorms at least some of the time ( it was interesting in that our wired bandwidth and wireless bandwidth were essentially the same total so the wired users are using 4 times as much per user ).

I would suggest you at least run the cat-6 cable and put in jacks during the renovation. You might decide to not activate the jacks but you will probably need to have switch capacity for PoE on each floor to run the wireless. Having jacks installed during renovation is generally cost effective and gives you flexibility should things change.  

Thanks



Jack Suess
UMBC Division of Information Technology (DoIT)

Hi,
We had wireless-only residence halls for several years due to an inability to update and pull fiber through the old buildings.  Students were never satisfied, largely due to movies and gaming systems.  We wired the halls about a year ago.

Theresa

Message from rpickett@mail.sdsu.edu

Tom,

Five years ago we went to a wireless network model for our residence halls, with a shutdown of  wired connections the next year.  We only offer wired connection (Cat 6 for network and phone) on a subscription basis and charge an additional fee for that service (approx. $20/month). Only a handful of students, out of 3200, elect that capability. With only another small group, <80, using our phone system.

Since virtually all game consoles can use wireless, it hasn't been an issue.  The residence halls share  1Gbps of dedicated wireless bandwidth.  We have saved a substantial amount of money since we no longer replace the switches and our Aruba wireless network works well.  In our next residence hall we are opting not to include wired network ports.

-- 
Rich Pickett
Chief Information Officer
San Diego State University


We have wireless and wired available in all our dorms, the majority use wireless only. We rarely have complaints about online games, game sharing, etc. We use Aruba.

Respectfully,

Mark Scott
VP of Innovation and Technology, CTO
Freed-Hardeman University | 158 E. Main St. | Henderson, TN 38340
731-989-6002 | mscott@fhu.edu | Twitter: http://twitter.com/m_scott

Cyber Security Awareness - FHU Online Safety


Message from dthibeau@post03.curry.edu

Ditto from Curry… identical to Mark at Freed-Hardeman U.

 

Dennis Thibeault

Curry College

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Mark Scott
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 11:07 AM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Wireless-only residence halls - would appreciate insights from those who have implemented this approach

 

We have wireless and wired available in all our dorms, the majority use wireless only. We rarely have complaints about online games, game sharing, etc. We use Aruba.

Respectfully,

Mark Scott
VP of Innovation and Technology, CTO
Freed-Hardeman University | 158 E. Main St. | Henderson, TN 38340
731-989-6002 | mscott@fhu.edu | Twitter: http://twitter.com/m_scott

Cyber Security Awareness - FHU Online Safety

Message from dewittlatimer@gmail.com

Please be aware that we're seeing more on-line games (Steam et al.) starting to use the same ports of services (e.g. Torrents) that have been traditionally blocked/rate limited on WiFi networks. 

I'm not advocating one access method over another (I think our students have already answered that for us), but ask yourself if you're truly ready to run your WLAN exactly like you've historically run your LAN, or in the eyes of the students, run it like they run their @home WiFi network.

Go into this with your eyes wide shut.

-d


---------------------------------

Dewitt Latimer, Ph.D.

Chief Information Officer

Montana State University



Message from russ.leathe@gordon.edu

We took the approach that you need both still.  Wireless is still half duplex and a lower speed than wired.  However the wifi technology is catching up.  Hybrid AP’s are available now that give you both.

Wired for elevators , E911 and Lounges (with IPTV),  hybrid AP’s for the rooms.

We run a parallel network for gamers. It’s available on the wired and wireless and they have to register their MAC (XBOX,PS3, WII) to be on it. 

Our stats show 80% on wireless and the device type ranges from 2-3 devices per student.  This is trending higher and by next year I suspect 90-95% on wireless.

Why hybrid AP’s then?  If you need a wired connection,  it’s there..

 

Typically, in the past, ‘port per pillow’ but now we are modeling ‘x amount of students/AP’.  My Colleague at another local University is averaging 6 (wifi)devices/student.  

 

I’m sure this model will change as we add buildings and the technology is enhanced.

 

BTW we are an Alcatel/Aruba shop.  They are very student/university friendly.

 

I hope this is helpful,

 

russ 

 

 

We opened a new residence hall here at Framingham State a year ago that is about the same size.  The University only provides wireless network access in the new North Hall building except for a limited number of designated common areas (group study rooms).  Hardwired Internet connections from individual rooms are still available to students for “recreational use”, or just personal preference, as a cable television provider option (at additional cost).  Very few students have opted for the additional hardwired connection option at the additional cost.  Our network hardware and software provider is Enterasys Networks.

 

In terms of the rationale behind this decision, we explained that investing more in wireless technology is consistent with demand and student preferences.  The University avoided the cost of cabling the new residence hall.  But we also have a University “Climate Action Plan”.  By limiting the number of network electronics to support only a wireless network (as opposed to both hardwired and wireless) the demand for power, equipment, support and maintenance is minimized. 

 

There have not been any more complaints in the wireless only residence hall as compared to the other residence halls on campus which are both wireless and hardwired.  (As we all know, there is always some level of dissatisfaction with wireless access for numerous reasons).

 

Regards,

 

 

-P

 

Patrick Laughran | Chief Information Officer | Information Technology Services | 508/626-4048 w 508/626-4947 (fax) | Framingham State University | 100 State Street w PO Box 9101 w Framingham, MA  01701-9101

 

Thomas,

 

Two years ago we totally redesigned our network. As part of that redesign we upgraded all of our cabling to Cat-6 and installed a brand new wireless network working with Aruba Networks. All our students now connect to our network via wireless and we have not had any issues.

 

Please let me know if would like to discuss further.

 

Regards


Darrell K

 

J. Darrell Kulesza
Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Dean College
99 Main Street
Franklin, MA 02038

508-541-1864 - phone

 

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE This e-mail message from Dean College is intended only for the individual(s) to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail by accident, please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail and all copies of it.

 

Ditto.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
W. Lee Hisle
Vice-President for Information Services
  and Librarian of the College
Connecticut College
New London, CT
(860) 439-2650
www.conncoll.edu/is

IS staff will NEVER ask you for your password  or login information by e-mail.  
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We recently did a redesign too and I was planning on not upgrading our legacy switches in the residence halls.  Instead I was going to stockpile switches from the admin side and just keep using them for students.  As one died I would replace it from the stockpile.  

As for wiring, a number of our reshalls had some pretty funky wiring, i.e. cat 5 with horrible terminations.  I tried cleaning up the terminations and testing throughput and was able to push 1 Gb consistently so I opted to keep the wiring.

I pulled cat 6 for the new wireless APs though because of PoE.

I was happy with that plan but our vendor came out with a line of low end switches that I just couldn't refuse.  They are only 10\100 but they stack and I was able to use them with our NAC system natively.  My former plan required I run NAC in-line, upstream.  So we opted for one more round of switches in the reshalls.  By the time we need to replace these new switches I figure we will abandon wired networking, i.e. 7-8 years.


On Oct 2, 2012 12:41 PM, "Kulesza, Darrell" <dkulesza@dean.edu> wrote:

Thomas,

 

Two years ago we totally redesigned our network. As part of that redesign we upgraded all of our cabling to Cat-6 and installed a brand new wireless network working with Aruba Networks. All our students now connect to our network via wireless and we have not had any issues.

 

Please let me know if would like to discuss further.

 

Regards


Darrell K

 

J. Darrell Kulesza
Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Dean College
99 Main Street
Franklin, MA 02038

508-541-1864 - phone

 

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE This e-mail message from Dean College is intended only for the individual(s) to whom it is addressed. This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail by accident, please notify the sender immediately and destroy this e-mail and all copies of it.

 

We moved to “mostly” wireless in the residence halls about 4 years ago when we refreshed our network.  We offered both wireless and wired connectivity prior to this.  However, the wireless we had in place wasn’t up to the increasing demands that laptops and other smaller portable devices were placing on it. 

 

Despite being a port per pillow, even when students would complain the wireless wasn’t reliable or working well they would simply refuse to tether their computer to our network with a cable.  We did a little research and bookkeeping and found that only 22% of our network ports in residence halls had a device attached anytime during the year before the network overhaul.

 

As these numbers emerged we began the conversation with our Student Government organization about going all wireless in the residence halls.   We agreed to build a much more robust wireless infrastructure covering all buildings and nearly all of the green spaces.  As this conversation progressed we began to win the converts we needed.

 

What finally carried the day is that that we agreed to provide a wired connection for a fee (satisfied the gaming community) and began to factor in the green/sustainability factors of not powering network equipment that was not being used.  Our student body is very conscious of environmental issues.  Only about 1% to 3% of our student body opt for wired connections (generally gamers).   We’ve been able to meet this demand with spare ports we have on our POE switches.  Our existing cat 5/6 cabling is still in good shape and hopefully will remain so for quite some time as we aren’t getting a lot of people using the ports in the rooms.  The wall jacks were always problematic on the maintenance front.

 

We put in a Cisco Wireless network (WISM controller based architecture with MIMO APs) and performed wireless surveys in our larger buildings to insure optimal placement of APs.  This was only part of a multi-faceted upgrade which included NAC for compliance scanning for antivirus and OS patching.  Year one of this was a real nightmare, more the NAC than the wireless… but now going into our fifth year I am really pleased that we selected this path.  While I don’t have any evidence, my gut feeling is that the NAC and insuring that the user community stays current with OS updates and  antivirus software was/is key to the success of the success of this program as much as putting in a top tier wireless solution.

 

 

Steve

 

We run 4,500 beds on wireless only. New dorms are equipped with appropriate spaces and pathways (closets, cable trays, conduit, and outlet boxes) to handle wired connections if we need them.  We needed those pathways for CATV anyway, so there was no real premium required to have them there. 

 

The wireless network works.  It has taken some tweaking and tuning, but we spent lots of time tweaking and tuning the wired network as well.  We make no distinction between the "ResNet" wireless network and the rest of the campus wireless network.  The student experience is the same no matter where they go.  Speeds vary a bit, since we run a mixture of 802.11G and 802.11N, but the real issue related to speed is density, not technology.

 

The vast majority of students are satisfied with the wireless network.  We do have some hard-core gamers that are not satisfied.  I'm not sure they would ever be satisfied.

 

Bliss

 

Bliss Bailey

Office of Information Technology

Auburn University, AL  36849

334-844-4512

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