Wireless Access


Next Gen Architecture for Residence Halls

For the last 9 months, the Aruba ACE team has been doing a ton of work in res halls.  With all the new devices students are bringing, plus the move by some institutions to down the wired port, it's put a huge new load on these networks.


Res halls have tended to be "best efforts" networks with hallway APs providing simple coverage models.  As you all know, the hallway is cheaper and easier to get cable into, and avoids access issues in the student rooms.  But extensive active survey work we've done around the country clearly demonstrates that hallway deployments simply don't work any more.  Especially for the type of RF-hostile construction you typically find in these structures.


So how to scale up the capacity without having to pull a lot of new cable?  We published today a new recommended best practice architecture for res halls that should help all of our customers understand the issues, and justify to their leaders what needs to be done.


The paper proposes a very cool, cost-saving solution – basically separating the 2.4GHz and 5GHz coverage into separate “blankets” using single radio APs.  This lets the EDUs get a super high capacity install without having to (i) pull new cable to either the hallway or the dorm room; or (ii) buy more expensive dual radio APs everywhere.  


The main goal of this paper is take the high ground and give these customers a “top down” architecture  that they can use to justify the right level of investment and technical design to meet today’s high expectations in these facilities.  There is extensive site survey data taken by ACE at various EDUs around the country last year as we worked through problem reports that turn out to be inadequate designs.


The architecture has just been published as a mini-VRD on our main web page.  It's available in both PDF and HTML formats.




We would love to hear your feedback on what we've come up with.




Chuck Lukaszewski

Sr. Director, Professional Services & ACE


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