Aruba creates competitive differentiation for an enhanced learning experience
Creating competitive differentiation
With more than 25,000 students across 12 campuses, creating competitive differentiation to attract the new, hi-tech generation is a top priority for CERTUS, the leading banking, business and finance educational institute in Peru.
“With almost 800 educational institutes in Peru, we need to differentiate ourselves from the rest by deploying technology that meets the needs of our staff and students,” explains Omar Lira, IT Manager at CERTUS. “The new generation is opting to go to universities and institutes with more modern facilities. Many institutes don’t provide Wi-Fi, or—if they do, it’s usually very basic and not built with the latest technologies. Having a modern, wireless infrastructure is one way CERTUS can differentiate itself from the competition.”
“One of the main objectives of the IT Department is to leverage Wi-Fi technologies that allow us to implement more economical and efficient solutions,” continues Lira. “Our primary challenge was to provide, not just basic Wi-Fi connectivity, but an enhanced user experience with fast access, seamless roaming, and a guaranteed quality of service, together with a simple, easy-to-use management platform.”
Meeting the demand for mobility
The HPE and Aruba solution has provided us with the user experience we’ve been looking for. The network is easy to manage and support, with full visibility into who is using it and what they’re doing. And costs have been reduced across the board. It’s enabled us to create the competitive differentiation that we were looking for as a leader in Peru’s education sector.
Omar Lira, IT Manager, CERTUS, Peru
“We started using Aruba networking about five years ago, but we weren’t really focused on developing a Wi-Fi solution that met the needs of the campus,” says Lira. “Wi-Fi coverage was limited to certain areas of the campus. There were too many SSIDs which made it difficult to get a good Wi-Fi signal. Some SSIDs had passwords while others did not, which contributed to inefficient use of the available bandwidth. In addition, the network wasn’t managed and we lacked the monitoring tools we needed. Maintenance and support was expensive, and the lack of a proper design made troubleshooting very difficult.”
With pressure mounting to deploy a wireless network that would meet the demands of academic and student populations, CERTUS began investigating the latest wired and wireless technologies. “The use of technology is no longer optional if we want to generate shared value with our users—which is the reason for our existence,” states Lira. “The institution appreciates new technologies that we can leverage to improve communication, generate economies of scale, and increase productivity.”
“We examined offerings from three vendors, including HPE,” explains Lira. “We wanted an intelligent network that was easy deploy with fully integrated management tools that could help us ensure quality of service for our users. We also wanted to be able to easily replicate the design to other campuses while retaining management control from our primary campus.”
Fast, simple deployment
After carrying out an AirWave proof of concept, CERTUS decided to expand their existing Aruba deployment and add AirWave, ClearPass, and HPE Intelligent Management Center (IMC). Key differentiators included the extensive functionality that the solution provided at a competitive price point, providing CERTUS with the value they were looking for.
“Previously, if we were experiencing network problems, we would expand our wired infrastructure to try and resolve the problem,” explains Lira. “But that was only a temporary solution and very costly. Now we can roll out a wireless infrastructure 10 times faster than a wired one. That makes a big difference in terms of time, effort, and cost. It also allows us to provide free Wi-Fi access in the parks surrounding our campuses. The local community can enjoy Internet access, while we take advantage of the opportunity to promote our institute on the access portal.”
Easy to manage
CERTUS deployed Aruba AirWave to analyze and correlate the wireless network data crossing the Mobility Controllers, and IMC to manage the switches. AirWave is a powerful and easy-to-use network operations system that offers granular visibility across the entire access infrastructure, with consolidated management of multiple generations of wired and wireless infrastructure within a multi-vendor network.
“For us, ClearPass was a big differentiator. It allows us to offer extended services without having to worry about our network being compromised,” says Lira. “It enables us to proactively make decisions on how the users are accessing the wireless network, and what they can do on it based on their profile.”
Future-proofed for enhanced education
“We’re building a foundation for the future,” adds Lira. “Our plans include being able to stream video sessions from classrooms across the Internet to wherever a student might be. We also want to expand our marketing presence on the campus portal so that our sponsors can also take advantage of the opportunity to reach the surrounding communities.”
And what about support? “HPE Foundation Care gives us confidence ensures 24x7 availability of the infrastructure, while ArubaCare provides us access to industry-leading mobility experts that complement our in-house resources and give us the support we need,” says Lira. “We also take advantage of the technology refresh option from HPE Financial Services. That allows us to keep our infrastructure modern and up-to-date by replacing it every four years.”
Reduced total cost of ownership
“The benefits of deploying the HPE and Aruba solution have been huge,” says Lira, “and we’ve saved a lot of money. From an operational view, we’ve eliminated the need for cabling. Before, cabling was a whole project by itself. Now, we don’t do any cabling for the new campuses. Even the desktops come with Wi-Fi connectivity. We estimate that eliminating the need for cabling by going wireless with Aruba saves us between 40 and 60 percent compared to before when we had a wired infrastructure.”
“We also save on costs from a personnel perspective because of AirWave and IMC,” continues Lira. “In this sector, institutions are used to having big teams in order to manage and monitor effectively and at CERTUS we only have two people. We have two monitors — one for AirWave and one for IMC — where we get all the warnings and alerts in real-time. That allows me to see what is happening across the network and make the decisions needed to ensure the quality of service our users expect.”
Lira sums it up: “The HPE and Aruba solution has provided us with the user experience we’ve been looking for. All of our new campuses enjoy 100 percent Wi-Fi coverage, and the open network allows for fast, easy onboarding, and the performance needed to meet the demands of approximately 10,000 users that are logged on at any one time. Deployment is fast and repeatable across campuses. The network is easy to manage and support, with full visibility into who is using it and what they’re doing. And costs have been reduced across the board. It’s enabled us to create the competitive differentiation that we were looking for as a leader in Peru’s education sector.”