Wireless Networking Services
1. Is technology strategic to your institutions academic mission.
2. Are you meeting or exceeding faculty and student aka(client's) wireless access expectations?
3. When your institution decided to provide wireless as a service did it understand that it was a lifelong commitment in resources?
4. Did it understand going in that in 3 to 8 years there was going to be a replacement cost that equaled or exceeded the existing installation?
5. Does your institution understand that not providing adequate or exceptional wireless coverage and bandwidth will only remain that way until your clients force an upgrade.
Why suffer at the back end of the inevitable stumbling toward a known future?
You will be seeing this message a lot over the coming years.
Trustees approve upgrade of Penn State's wireless capabilities
May 3, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Board of Trustees voted today (May 3) to approve a multi-phased upgrade to the University's wireless networking services. The $8.5 million project will be rolled out over three years and will enhance and expand Wi-Fi coverage across Penn State's campuses.
Set to be completed by 2016, this effort will make several additions and improvements to the University's wireless system. Infrastructure will be serviced and replaced where needed. New equipment will be added, and a significant amount of equipment will be upgraded. Areas on campus with spotty coverage will be brought up to new standards, and wireless services will be provided where coverage does not yet exist.
The project, which is being funded from reserves for capital improvements, will address the ever-increasing need for Internet bandwidth due to the continued (and growing) influx of wireless electronics such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other handheld devices on campus. At peak times, there are up to 24,000 mobile devices on the University's wireless network--three times the amount of devices from just three years ago.
According to University officials, students, faculty and staff at Penn State are individually connecting with multiple devices at increasingly frequent rates, so the number of wireless connection needs per person is skyrocketing. Numerous colleges and universities are facing this challenge nationwide, as the explosion of handheld technologies drives expectations for large-scale bandwidth and wireless Internet access.
Upgrading and expanding wireless coverage across Penn State will ensure students, faculty and staff have the connectivity they need to continue teaching, learning and researching, explained Kevin Morooney, vice provost for Information Technology, by filling coverage gaps in areas with substandard or no wireless coverage, replacing incompatible or outdated equipment and managing exponential growth of wireless at the University into the future.
"Use of the wireless network has grown rapidly over the past few years, creating the expectation and demand for more universal and seamless wireless coverage on our campuses," he added. "The upgrade and the enhancements to our existing wireless service will enable us to meet these expectations, enhancing the education and research experiences of all students, faculty and staff in our community."
Is your institutions network a hodge-podge of antiquated, multivendor, home grown, open source, and new equipment that will suddenly leap forward in a wireless frenzy by slapping in a bunch of new access points? Technology has a cost. Does your leadership know what the ongoing cost is going to be when they decide to fund new technology, or is it a feast and famine management style when making technology decisions? Making the decision that technology is more than a cost center but an essential aspect of the institutions academic mission might start it down a path to recovery.
If you have all these wireless and wired users, what are they using when connected? One follows the other. Who makes that decision what is work and what is play? How much of learning and teaching has an aspect of play? Is IT the Internet traffic cop? Is this really where IT brings serious value?
This is growing faster than any other resource. With the introduction of HPC/CPU/GPU resources moving from the research labs into the classroom over the last six years, faculty and students need very fast and available storage. This year the HPC buried the IO capacity of the institutional NetApp storage solution and I had to ask them to back off so the rest of campus could run. This made the students very happy ;) We have since built for faculty and students their own Gluster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluster HPC research storage solution. This year the institution is moving forward with a grant to seriously grow the HPC capacity to meet demand.
With the move to digital art, digitizing, data creation and curation more, less expensive, faster storage is required to create, manage and use massive data sets and affordable archival solutions. With a serious move into formalizing the Digital Humanities http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_humanities at Bowdoin with the creation of a Digital and Computational Studies program http://www.bowdoin.edu/digital-computational-studies/ additional staffing and technology resources are already being determined and deployed to meet faculty, student (client) expectations and requirements.
Outsourced contract to provide printers, supplies and service. IT, Finance and the students worked together on a green effort to better manage printing about 5 years ago. The goal was to reduce paper waste. The end result was a Pharos http://www.pharos.com/ wired, wireless and mobile printing solution. Rather than having only a few really big and fast printers in the library, smaller printers were moved into the dorms and social spaces where students played and worked. Students have a print quota the refreshes every semester. A student must pay for any printing that exceeds the quota.
There are so many contribution factors to why a robust wireless solution is inevitable. Fighting it or finding ways to think that your existing solution is good enough is only going to generate client distrust and drag down IT credibility. It is an institutional leadership decision to move forward with technology not an IT decision. The institutional leadership should be taking the heat for not providing a solid wireless solution...not IT. IT can do anything with the right resources.
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