Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Next-generation wireless coming to Indiana University campuses this fall
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University students, faculty and staff on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses who wirelessly connect their laptops and handheld devices to the Internet will find greater coverage and ease of use once IU's new next-generation wireless hardware is installed. Users of handheld devices, such as iPhones, will be able to move seamlessly among wireless access points without losing their connection, just as cell phone users can travel between cellular towers without losing calls.
IU Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Brad Wheeler today (April 22) announced that University Information Technology Services (UITS) will begin deploying a new, improved and much larger wireless network on the two core campuses using HP ProCurve's ZL wireless system upon award of a contract effective April 14 following a competitive bid process. Further, HP's pricing is available to IU's regional campuses, which can upgrade to the new wireless network on their own timelines.
"IU has waited to invest in a path to the next generation of very fast wireless capability. With this massive upgrade, we vastly enlarge our wireless coverage including residence halls, refresh to leading edge equipment, and have a full path to the 802.11N standard when it is officially ratified later this year," said Wheeler.
UITS will replace current wireless hardware -- some of which is now more than six years old -- with a modern system that is much more capable of meeting the university's needs now and in the future. UITS also will expand coverage areas greatly, especially in the Bloomington residence halls.
"Our current wireless deployment in the IU Bloomington residence halls covers only common areas and lounges," said Matt Davy, IU chief network architect. "We will expand to cover nearly all of the residence halls; this means coverage in every student room, as well as all common areas. To give you an idea of the scale, we currently have a total of about 1,200 access points for the entire Bloomington campus. We will be adding 2,700 new access points just in the residence halls. That's a lot of Wi-Fi!"
Indiana University Kokomo also is planning a fall deployment of its new wireless network that will cover all academic and office areas for fall, replacing the relatively small network currently available.
"We were pleased to be a partner in the effort to bring the latest wireless technology -- meeting both present and future needs -- to all Indiana University campuses," said Chris Rivers, IU Kokomo associate director for computer services and network engineer. "This technology will, to a great extent, complement our newly upgraded campus network switch infrastructure deployed earlier this year."
The broader IU community, as well as IU affiliates and guests, will find it easier to connect securely to the IU network and the Internet. The new HP system utilizes a standard called WPA2 Enterprise -- sometimes referred to as 802.1x -- to replace VPN (virtual private networking) as the means for securely accessing wireless networks. This new standard provides an authenticated and encrypted wireless connection in a way that is significantly more user friendly than VPN. IU users will see the new wireless network displayed as "IU Secure."
Davy added, "I've been working in our test environment for several months, and I can tell you, once you use WPA2 Enterprise, you'll never want to use VPN to connect to wireless again."
IU will be able to upgrade the system to a new high-speed wireless protocol known as 802.11n -- expected to be adopted this fall -- that will give users potential access speeds of up to 100Mbps or greater.
UITS staff will begin installing the new hardware in May, with plans to have most new access points installed at IU Bloomington and IUPUI early in the fall semester.
To watch a vodcast of Matt Davy talking about the next-generation wireless, go to: http://podcast.iu.edu/upload/UITS/b02df976-4e2c-4bb8-9d62-08908804ccda/Matt_davy_041708.mp4.