Brandeis University Campus-Wide Ubiquitous Wireless

photo from brandeis.edu

photo from brandeis.edu

Brandeis University, located in Waltham, Massachusetts, covers 235 acres, is comprised of more than 100 buildings and has an enrollment of over 3,500. With today’s student bringing an average of 3.4 wireless devices to school, the university embarked on a three-year project to install wireless connectivity throughout the campus. Brandeis chose Aruba wireless access points and worked with several vendors to determine coverage needs and a phased installation plan based on priority areas. Connectivity Point was chosen as the installation contractor and was responsible for the cabling and installation of the wireless access points.

Phase 1 addressed buildings with the heaviest use: dormitories and academic buildings. Installation challenges included old and historic buildings; stone, brick, block and similar construction requiring surface-mounted conduit; vaulted ceilings; crowded ceiling spaces and non-existent cable pathways. Connectivity Point technicians were able to overcome the challenges of the project and successfully deploy the wireless access points as designed. More than 800 access points were installed.

Phase 2 added another 35 buildings. Although it was smaller in scale, the installation of 800 access points was just as challenging. Brandeis was confident in Connectivity Point’s ability to successfully complete the installation based on our performance the previous year and our ability to apply our experience and lessons learned.

Phase 3—the final stage of the project—tackled some of the hardest areas, as well as filled in gaps that had been identified in coverage. To accomplish this phase, Connectivity Point re-utilized existing legacy voice cabling (Category 5e) and re-routed it as needed for the additional wireless access points. It is worth noting that many of these buildings were cabled years ago—however, Brandeis’ policy of cabling with the most current standard of cable (Category 5E at the time) paid off and enabled the existing cables to be utilized for the wireless access points. More than 1,050 access points were installed or relocated within 52 buildings during this phase.

Attention to detail, flexibility, creativity and a can-do attitude characterized the Connectivity Point installation team. Large projects like this require close coordination with the owner and Brandeis IT Facilities staff worked closely with Connectivity Point’s project manager to see the project through to completion.

Senior project management at Brandeis summed it up in an email upon completion of the project: “Thanks to all of you and your crews for making this a HUGE success!!”

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