Cisco announced that Duke University will deploy the next phase of its mobility transformation by deploying an expansive next-generation 802.11n wireless network across its campus, featuring more than 2,500 Cisco access points -- the largest planned 802.11n wireless network in the world by any organization to date.
As a progressive leader in education and one of the first organizations to deploy 802.11n technologies, Duke will blanket more than 6 million square feet of its Durham, N.C. campus with 2,500 Wi-Fi-certified Cisco 802.11n Aironet 1250 Series access points. The deployment will provide ubiquitous wireless coverage in academic halls, libraries, residence halls and other campus buildings.
Duke's chief information officer, Tracy Futhey, said Cisco's 802.11n technology -- which dramatically increases the speed and reliability of traditional wireless networks -- is a fundamental part of Duke's strategy to implement innovative technologies that can enhance the quality of campus life, enable new learning spaces and provide seamless access to course materials and resources for a campus population of 45,000 students, faculty and staff.
"Wireless on our campus is absolutely critical to our 24-by-7 population. Universities are an ideal testing ground for new technologies, especially wireless uses and devices, because students are spending their entire day on campus in a mobile manner. They live, learn, work and play on campus," said Futhey. "At Duke, we really have the opportunity to apply innovative wireless technology that can meet the demands of a diverse, mobile user base and enrich their academic and social experience as a result."
"We expect the campus-wide 802.11n wireless network to increasingly be the primary mode of connectivity for data access and mobility applications. The value of a technology like 802.11n is about enabling new kinds of uses on our campus, giving our students new opportunities and enabling faculty to push the limits and try things that were not possible before on previous wireless technologies," Futhey added.
During real-world tests, Duke experienced predictable and reliable wireless coverage and consistent average data throughput performance of nearly 130 Mbps per client with the Cisco Aironet 1250 Series access point. In addition, tests at Duke indicated that existing 802.11g clients such as laptops connected to a Cisco Aironet 1250 Series access point obtained almost twice the data rate achieved while connected to an older wireless network, demonstrating the benefit of 802.11n to existing Wi-Fi devices.
In addition to the current benefits for the campus population, the new Cisco 802.11n wireless network supports the Duke Digital Initiative by enabling multimodal "classrooms of tomorrow" and collaborative group study areas that are now under construction in the Perkins Library. Video applications will become more pervasive with streaming audio, video and high-definition TV (HDTV) over Wi-Fi. All course materials, including digital recordings of classes, will be available anytime, anywhere using the wireless network. In addition, inside or outside of a classroom, faculty can use network resources to enhance teaching. For example, an economics professor is planning to use real-time market data as part of the course materials, clearly demonstrating the relevancy to current events.
"802.11n is clearly ready for prime time, and Cisco continues to deliver a reliable 802.11n solution to meet mobility needs," said Ben Gibson, Cisco's senior director of mobility solutions. "Duke is one of the first organizations to realize the benefits of a Cisco 802.11n wireless network and what it enables them to do: transform how they learn, live and play."