Founded in 1872, Doane is Nebraska’s oldest non-public school and is designated as a “Top National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News and World Report. The University’s most important campus is comprised of 21 buildings together with six residence halls that home 800 college students. Doane additionally operates two satellite tv for pc campuses situated in Lincoln and Omaha.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it escalated Doane’s want for a dependable and safe community. Students have been having issues connecting to their programs from house or their dorms and have been being dropped from their Zoom periods. The IT workforce was confronted with both upgrading their current Cisco community or changing it with a extra progressive resolution that would assist the University’s lengthy-time period imaginative and prescient in addition to its instant wants.
“My goal has always been to make sure that the only thing that is challenging for our students is their coursework,” stated Doane University CIO, Derek Bierman. “It’s important for us to think strategically about all of the technology we’re using to provide a fantastic learning experience for our students and build a network for where the University wants to be, not where we are now.”
While Doane’s IT workforce thought-about utilizing Cisco for a refresh, the excessive value, coupled with the requirement for a future-prepared resolution that helps their imaginative and prescient, drove them to search for alternate options. In addition, because the pandemic lingered, the uncertainty surrounding the proportion of time college students would spend in school rooms versus distant learning underscored the necessity for a basis that would higher deal with a hybrid learning mannequin.
Working with associate DataVizion, Doane moved to an Aruba ESP community together with Aruba Wi-Fi 6 entry factors (APs), CX Series switches, with Aruba Central offering unified cloud-primarily based administration. The first section of the deployment throughout Doane’s residence halls was accomplished in lower than six weeks. Phase two, which incorporates connecting the remainder of the buildings on campus and deploying ClearPass to unify wired and wi-fi NAC, is underway.
Unified Management Saves Time, Simplifies Tasks for IT
One of the first causes Doane selected Aruba ESP was its unified wired and wi-fi administration. Doane’s Director of IT, Ryan Dorshorst famous, “We wouldn’t want to put all of our APs in the cloud and manage them with one system, then have to troubleshoot our switches on another platform. Being able to manage everything from a single pane of glass using Aruba Central saves us valuable time and resources.”
Dorshorst additionally discovered that Central permits the workforce to monitor and handle the community from anyplace with out a VPN connection. For instance, on the nights when college students are shifting into their residence halls, he can oversee the community remotely from his cellphone. Central additionally permits him to run stories on particular visitors – resembling that emanating solely from pupil gadgets – and gives templates for straightforward configuration adjustments, leading to time and price financial savings for the IT workforce.
Dorshorst can also be excited in regards to the potential to use contextual knowledge from Central to determine at-threat college students in order that Doane can develop programming to help them and additional improve their instructional expertise. With some of the proximity tracing capabilities inherent in Central, for instance, a professor may determine an absent pupil and test in to be sure that the coed is properly, can receive notes and assignments from the missed class, and might keep on monitor.
Student Devices and IoT Can Connect Securely and Reliably
Another key profit of Doane’s Aruba ESP community is the power to reliably and securely join the wide range of gadgets college students are bringing to campus together with Sonos audio system, Amazon Alexa gadgets, gaming gadgets and printers, and the standard laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Said Dorshorst, “The Aruba network is delivering the reliability we lacked previously in the residence halls. I’m not getting complaints that students are having trouble getting their mobile devices connected or dropping from Zoom calls anymore.”
As Doane enters its second semester, it is going to be conducting Covid-19 testing for college kids, permitting these with damaging outcomes to return to school rooms, however persevering with to enable others to study remotely. Dorshorst stated the community is vital to constructing this hybrid atmosphere, giving college students a seamless expertise whether or not they’re again within the classroom or of their dorm.
In addition, Dorshorst says that Doane will add IoT gadgets as the brand new community is totally applied. The University’s amenities division already has your entire HVAC system linked by way of the wired community, however Dorshorst famous that it is going to be simpler to add IoT gadgets wirelessly shifting ahead, significantly because the Aruba APs have constructed-in Bluetooth and Zigbee to simplify IoT deployment and administration.
“We already have an engineering professor looking at adding sensors for air quality or water detection to reduce Doane’s insurance costs, as one example,” he stated. “But we envision many different kinds of wireless IoT devices will now be able to connect easily and securely.”