Aruba + HP Networking supplies fast, reliable and secure mobility for modern teaching, learning and student life.
Like many residential institutions, most of Trevecca Nazarene University’s students are required to live on campus while they learn. This makes John Eberle’s networking infrastructure vital to academic goals and recreational activities, day and night.
“Students from one particular dorm were complaining about insufficient Wi-Fi,” explains Eberle, Deputy CIO of Infrastructure for the 2,500-student institution in Nashville, Tennessee. “Our device densities had grown too high for us to support.”
Moving Up to Gigabit Wi-Fi
With 50 to 60 mobile devices seeking to connect per four-room student suite, Trevecca decided to pilot Gigabit Wi-Fi in the affected building.
“Students from that residence hall raved about the improvements to their friends and professors,” Eberle says. “With our faculty members increasingly adopting wireless technologies for teaching and learning, as well as the explosion in student mobility, it made sense to standardize our entire campus on 802.11ac.”
Aruba and HP Networking: A winning combination
Previously, Trevecca had partnered with Aruba Networks and HP Networking for its existing wireless and wired infrastructure. When the two companies announced their merger, it helped make the institution’s upgrade decision easier.
“By joining forces, HPN and Aruba gave us the confidence to move forward with our existing partners,” Eberle says.
Trevecca’s Senior Network Administrator, Jeff Tedford, agrees. “Having our trusted infrastructure providers become united benefits our network and our IT team due to the resulting synergies,” he says.
802.11ac-Enabled Infrastructure for #GenMobile
On the wireless side, Trevecca elected to deploy a pervasive Wi-Fi with Aruba 802.11ac indoor and outdoor access points (APs) and Mobility Controllers. In addition, the university deployed Aruba’s vendor-agnostic management tools AirWave, for optimizing the Wi-Fi experience, and ClearPass, for strong security.
“It was critical to provide our faculty members with the Wi-Fi performance they require for today’s academic environment,” Eberle says. “Time is too precious for professors and students to waste it waiting for an important teaching video to begin streaming.”
Intelligent HP switches enhance and future-proof
By combining Aruba and HP Networking, we can handle ever-increasing device densities and deliver more speed.
John Eberle, Deputy CIO, Trevecca Nazarene University
For its wired upgrade, Trevecca installed the HP 2920 Switch Series, which provides Gigabit Ethernet for the edge and 10GbE uplinks, to replace its aging 100Mb units. Also, the institution adopted HP’s Intelligent Management Center (IMC) solution for wired network control and optimization.
Combining HPN and Aruba solutions provides Trevecca with the secure, scalable architecture it requires to meet the current and future needs of its #GenMobile community – the new breed of mobility-enabled technology users.
“By deploying the HP 2920 series switches, along with Aruba’s solutions, we not only gained the performance we need for today, but also future-proofed our network,” Tedford says. “And, when we need to upgrade our Internet pipe, we’re confident we have the right infrastructure in place.”
Seamless indoor and outdoor transitions
Standardizing on Aruba’s Gigabit Wi-Fi and HPN’s switches ensures students, educators and guests can transition fluidly between indoor and outdoor spaces.
“Previously, we only had minimal outdoor coverage where students tended to congregate,” says Eberle. Now, we’re extending our Wi-Fi to additional outdoor facilities, such as ball fields, and improving connectivity in existing areas, like parking lots.”
“With our new infrastructure, our users move smoothly throughout all of these locations,” he adds.
AirWave and IMC Streamline Operations
To ensure the overall health of its wireless and wired networks, Trevecca leverages Aruba’s AirWave and HP’s IMC for critical and granular infrastructure visibility. For Wi-Fi, this includes real-time and historical information based on user roles, device types, connection locations, application usage and time-of-day.
On the wired side, IMC provides Trevecca with end-to-end transparency with comprehensive configuration, compliance, and policy management, as well as advanced monitoring and reporting. Additionally, the institution gains Software-defined Networking (SDN) readiness.
Other benefits include an improved carbon footprint, Tedford says. “Our HP switches automatically change to power saving mode when traffic is absent.”
Insights aid network support
Using AirWave, Trevecca discovered the vast majority of connected devices are iPhones. Also common are iPads, mobile devices running either Mac or Windows OS, Android gear, gaming devices and AppleTV’s.
“By helping to reveal our average Wi-Fi user runs three to five devices, AirWave improves our ability to build out the network to meet the growing demands,” Eberle reports.
Additionally, AirWave automatically identifies RF obstacles and moves mobile devices to a cleaner channel. Plus, Trevecca appreciates AirWave’s VisualRF for providing device and application performance data.
“AirWave is very effective,” Tedford says, noting the tool cuts problem solving from hours to minutes. “It provides significant assistance with troubleshooting and other tasks. We really appreciate AirWave’s capabilities.”
ClearPass and HPN Provide Secure Access and Fast Onboarding
For network access control and policy management, Trevecca leverages a combination of Aruba’s ClearPass and HP’s IMC.
“Combining Aruba and HP technologies allows us to provide access via Microsoft Active Directory,” Eberle says. This enables Trevecca to give users the same credentials for wireless and wired access.
ClearPass also provides advanced role management and streamlined onboarding for all Trevecca constituencies and guests.
As Eberle points out, this is important as his institution never shuts down. “We have non-traditional students attending classes year-around,” he says. “And, during the summer, we host multiple events, including a major music camp that fills our undergraduate dormitories. With ClearPass, we provide guest access for visitors and simplify onboarding for all users.”
During Trevecca’s most recent fall orientation period, ClearPass helped the institution shine. “Over three days of registration we had over 1800 new devices connect through ClearPass with no issues,” Eberle says. “The tool has proven to be rock solid. We’re very happy with it."
More security with fewer IT resources
From a management standpoint, Trevecca significantly reduces administration time by leveraging the SDN capabilities of the ClearPass and IMC combination.
“Previously, it took about an hour to manually configure switch ports and assign the appropriate VLAN,” Tedford says. “Now, devices automatically connect with the appropriate VLAN.”
“Most importantly, our new solutions enhance security and improve our access controls.” he adds.
Speedy Wi-Fi: Star of Academic and Leisure Roles
Today, Trevecca faculty and students not only enjoy reliable, secure high-performance mobility, but students also say the enhancements are off the charts. “Everything is way better,” says Senior John Keaton. “The Wi-Fi runs faster and applications load more quickly.”
Fellow student Andrew Cohen agrees. “Since most of my classes require that homework be completed online, having fast and reliable internet is a necessity,” he says. Also, I can play online games with my friends as well as stream all of my movies and shows.”
Enterprise Connectivity – a Faculty Imperative
It’s a similar story for Trevecca educators. “With our improved Wi-Fi, faculty and staff can easily transport their devices to meetings and class for a variety of productive purposes,” observes James Hiatt, Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean of the Skinner School of Business and Technology.
Michael Leih, Chair of the Department of Information Technology, concurs. “As new educational techniques – such as the flipped classroom – become more common, instructors and students require fast and reliable information access,” he says. “Our new Wi-Fi system easily handles the bandwidth demands, so everyone can get to information quickly and efficiently.”