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Thousands of students at Huddersfield University are set to benefit from a six-figure investment in a new Wi-Fi network that will keep them connected wherever they roam about the campus.

The university has ditched its previous system to deploy a new Wi-Fi network capable of handling ever larger numbers of students wanting to access voice and video applications over the mobiles, laptops and tablets.

The first phase of the deployment – representing a £600,000 investment – was conducted in the new £22.5m Student Central building, which opened in January. Phase two, which began in last month, is expected to extend the Gigabit Wi-Fi network to the entire campus by the start the next academic year in October – potentially enabling 10,000 students to access Wi-Fi all at the same time.

 

Joanna Radley, data centre, infrastructure and network services manager at the university, said: “Due to its age we were experiencing poor, patchy performance with our previous network and had particular challenges with roaming – not ideal with a highly mobile student population armed with multiple mobile devices.

“We were finding that devices would connect to a wireless access point, but then ‘stick’ to it as people moved from place to place, which affects performance by reducing the available bandwidth to each client. The new network makes life a lot easier by putting the network in control.”

The Huddersfield Student Central building is the main gathering place for students on the university campus, offering students catering, a sports hall, a library, the student union and even a mobile concierge team armed with Apple iPads.

The new network, using Meru AP832 802.11ac access points, was designed and deployed by Meru partner Capita Managed IT Solutions, based in the UK, who will also participate in the design aspects of phase two of the deployment.

Joanna said: “We first installed Wi-Fi about six years or seven years ago in limited parts of the campus. When Prof Bob Cryan came as vice-chancellor one of the things he was keen to do was to have campus-wide Wi-Fi.”

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