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Indonesian university rolls out faster, more secure network

Yogyakarta State University deploys enterprise-grade Wi-Fi network to ease IT administrative workloads and support more users

Indonesia’s Yogyakarta State University (YSU) has rolled out a faster and more secure wireless network across its campus in a bid to improve security and cope with a growing number of users.

“The university today is very different to what it was previously,” said Arif Kurniawan, YSU’s network and communication division manager. “And as the university changed, so did our networking requirements.”

YSU has over 25,000 students and was founded from a merger between two educational institutions.

Part of the university’s teaching approach requires students to access the internet on their devices in seminar rooms and lecture halls. But its existing network solution could not fulfil those requirements.

The issue was network administration and security. Previously, students and staff accessed a common Wi-Fi network built using routers and access points meant for consumer use.

That resulted in the occasional misuse of others’ accounts, and the IT team at the university was spending a lot of time resetting network access for users.

Such resets were common as each access point could only support up to 30 users. When this limit was exceeded, YSU’s IT staff needed to reset network access.

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After trials using equipment supplied by Ruckus Wireless (a part of Brocade), Cisco, Juniper Networks and HP Networks, YSU decided on a Ruckus solution.

The university deployed 50 Ruckus ZoneFlex 7982 Access Points and 50 Ruckus ZoneFlex 7372 Access Points, supported by two Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 controllers.

“There is less downtime for students and staff, and fewer complaints. The network is far more secure now, and we’re already planning to expand the wireless network here at the university,” said Kurniawan.

Rudy Wibowo, regional sales manager at Brocade Indonesia, noted that YSU’s new Wi-Fi network has helped the university overcome the limitation of having just 30 users connected to a single access point. “It is now able to connect up to 500 concurrent devices, with up to 100 of those users accessing the network,” he said.

Achieving spectral efficiency

Bill Ray, research director at Gartner, noted that the new network deployed by YSU is fairly typical of installations used by enterprises around the world.

“It is interesting to see these techniques spreading outside the corporate world and into academia. It is also starting to trickle down into consumer equipment,” he said.

The most important trend in wireless networks today is spectral efficiency, said Gartner’s Ray. With Wi-Fi radio bands increasingly overcrowded, higher frequencies had been used to increase access speeds. However, this came at a cost: higher speeds for one user would mean slower speeds for others.

Now, the emphasis is on overall capacity, and how an intelligent network can share the available bandwidth fairly between all users.

“The network deployed by YSU literally points the radio signal at specific users as they move around (beamforming) to reduce interference and increase capacity,” said Ray. “This kind of intelligence is very attractive as it adds capacity without requiring an upgrade to the devices used by students.”

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