Villanova College – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Aruba delivers highly secure and reliable wireless with ease of connectivity for students, staff and guests

As an independent Catholic school educating 1,250 students, Villanova College required an overhaul of its existing wireless system to support the implementation of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative as well as providing further support to the IT team.

Craig Smith, ICT Manager at Villanova College explains, “We aspire for our students to become responsible, informed, confident and active users of technology. To enable collaborative learning, and to support the BYOD policy and SAMR model, we required a highly secure and reliable wireless network”

Enhances effective learning and quality teaching whilst improving collaboration in the classroom

As an educational provider, we believe it is our responsibility to prepare our students for the next stage of their lives through effective learning with rich technology. Aruba is a key partner in allowing us to do this seamlessly.Craig Smith, ICT Manager, Villanova College

After months of research into wireless technology providers, the IT team at Villanova College concluded that Aruba’s solution best suited the needs of the “modern classroom”.

“The Aruba wireless solution easily integrated with our existing HPE switches and the partnership between Aruba and Palo Alto Networks supported the delivery of secure connectivity to staff and students that our college could rely on,” says Smith.

With a BYOD policy in place, the majority of students use their own laptop, while the remaining students use college-managed devices.

“As an educational provider, we believe it is our responsibility to prepare our students for the next stage of their lives through effective learning with rich technology. Aruba is a key partner in allowing us to do this seamlessly,” explains Smith.

Better integration of technology into teaching initiatives

Villanova also incorporates the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model into its educational programme, to support teachers in the design, development and integration of technology into teaching and learning initiatives.

Multi-layer network specific for teachers, guests and students

Since upgrading its wireless network, Villanova can facilitate the daily connection of 1,400 devices on average, with the opportunity for more devices to connect at any given time. The enhancement in network capabilities has allowed them to develop a customised multi-layer network, whereby teachers and students have access to a network, specifically designed for each user group.

“We’re thrilled with the feedback we have received from our staff and students, as all users are able to seamlessly connect to the Aruba network in seconds,” says Smith.

The multi-layer network allows the IT team to easily modify and monitor student access as necessary, which is particularly beneficial when onboarding new students at the start of each school year.

“Aruba gives us the ability to change Wi-Fi access rules, allowing us to modify what students have access to on the school network and prioritise network access accordingly,” concludes Smith.

An IT Helpdesk Team that is no longer required to be in the IT room

Aruba’s ClearPass was an attractive component of the Aruba portfolio for Villanova College. Implementing an identity management system that allowed the IT team to access and manage the onboarding of students, teachers, and guest devices was critical in shifting the IT team’s focus to on-the-ground support.

“On-the-ground IT support is now in higher demand with the shift to a BYOD policy, as well as the substantial integration of technology into all aspects of teaching and learning,” explains Smith.

“With the previous solution, we spent the majority of our time in the IT room trying to keep all IT systems running smoothly. The Aruba solution, integrated with HPE switches, has enabled Villanova’s IT team to help improve technology skills in the classroom with hands on support,” continues Smith.

Scalable solution enabling further adoption of Aruba products

Further visibility into device usage and applications running on the wireless network is top of mind for Villanova College’s future technology priorities. Smith is excited at the recent addition of Aruba AirWave - assisting his IT team in identifying, and proactively managing, the hot spots and pain points of network use.

“AirWave helps us identify who’s using what device and where. This knowledge provides us with better visibility inside each classroom, to pinpoint which classes are streaming more video, for example. Furthermore, this allows the IT team to ensure the right number of access points are in place to adhere to network usage,” explains Smith.

“We’re excited by our next phase of growth and continuing our partnership with Aruba. The positive experience we have had with Aruba thus far solidifies its position as the best end-to-end provider for our wireless and wired network needs,” concludes Smith.

Providing an extended offering

Villanova continues its positive relationship with Aruba through the integration of a wireless offering at its annual music festival, Queensland Catholic Music Festival (QCMF), where thousands of people attend to enjoy three days of festivities and over 9700 student performances. This year, the school utilised its wireless infrastructure to promote social networking at the event and trusts that access to guest Wi-Fi will increase engagement on social media.

“We wanted to offer guests free Wi-Fi at the Queensland Catholic Music Festival at Villanova this year. We customised an Aruba Clearpass captive portal enabling guests to tap into seamless and secure Wi-Fi to easily connect and post to their own social networks. We were confident our network was kept secure by using the mix of ClearPass rules and our Palo Alto firewalls, while also keeping it separate from our internal network”, concludes Smith.