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Isle of Wight College goes wireless with Brocade

Campus-wide wireless network and internet telephony aims to boost student and staff productivity and cut costs

The Isle of Wight College (IoWC) has used deployed a Brocade wireless network across its campus.

Based in Newport, the college plays host to more than 8,500 students, along with 520 staff, and as the only further education institution on the island, has to offer a very wide range of courses.

The college knew it needed to upgrade its network infrastructure. But, as more and more staff and pupils were bringing in their own mobiles, tablets and laptops, it realised the wireless route was the best option.

“The boom in personal mobile devices… has meant we have had to rethink our IT,” said Rosie Quelch, network manager at IoWC. “What was becoming clear was that learning is no longer confined to the classroom, or to fixed point PCs in specific places like the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), or computer science block.”

The wireless network also offers flexible learning. “Wireless really is a ‘must-have’ now as students want to be able to securely access [the campus network from] their own devices as and when they want to and not be tied down to specific PCs, locations or indeed times when it comes to their own personal learning.”

The college also wanted to deploy internet telephony for its staff, but knew it would have to upgrade its network to be able to handle the extra workloads.

IoWC decided to use Brocade’s RS 6000 controller and a number of AP 300s and 7131s access points to build out the wireless network. Brocade’s IronPoint Mobility software is used to monitor the network and enable the IT team to respond to any errors from a central location.

“We were able to build a wireless network with increased security and efficiency out from the core of our SAN to the very edge of the network, whether that be through the three floors of the LRC, in the design technology block, or the art department,” added Quelch.

System integrator Calyx deployed the campus network and IP telephony upgrade.

“It’s all about the ease of connection,” added Marcus Jewell, country manager for the UK and Ireland at Brocade. “The buzz phrase of the younger generation is ‘wherever and whenever’ – courtesy of Brocade, IoWC now has the network infrastructure to meet the challenge of educating its [students] inside and outside the physical walls of the classroom.”

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