Spelman College, an historically Black college for women in Atlanta, GA, was facing the reality that their technology solutions needed to support the large number of devices students were using on campus. As a liberal arts college, technology had not always been a top focus, but to continue drawing the coming generations of students, they had to make significant strides towards fully integrating technology into the educational experience.
One of the first priorities was to create the basic foundation for an uninterrupted and constructive learning environment: a reliable wireless network. After working with Byteworks on two previous projects, Spelman was impressed with their ability to solve problems that others were unable to fix. They enlisted Byteworks to engineer a solution resulting in reliable and high-performance wireless network access for students, faculty, and staff.
Today's college students expect and demand reliable and ubiquitous wireless coverage to support an enhanced educational experience through eLearning, video, and online collaboration tools. In order for Spelman College to continue attracting new students with ever-increasing expectations of technology, a reliable wireless network is critical.
Prior to Byteworks' involvement, Spelman's wireless network deployment faced challenges including poor performance, outages and prompts for reauthentication. Wireless access points had been placed without the benefit of a wireless network assessment, and the network did not cover key portions of the campus. In order to start the coming school year (2013-2014) with universal wireless connectivity for their students, the wireless network needed to be quickly and strategically reworked.
Byteworks was engaged to perform a full network assessment of all devices and their configuration. The team knew that the problems with the original network were due to constraints of internal resources. With a methodical approach to evaluating the campus's specific layout and composition, Byteworks could apply scientific data and provide a reliable and universal wireless network for Spelman College and its students. One of the first steps was to perform a wireless site survey, which provides the scientific data that was needed to guide the design of a wireless network for optimal performance.
The Byteworks team walked every portion of the campus twice to incorporate active and passive scans while measuring radio frequency and interference. They combined this information with the layout of the campus including building materials to calculate optimal placements for wireless access points. The results indicated a need for far more access points than were currently in place. After weighing budget and capabilities, they recommended Cisco Aironet 2602i Access Points for their specific capabilities. Byteworks also recommended a new Wireless LAN Controller to manage all campus access points on a single controller rather than multiple controllers in order to address the reauthentication problems and simplify administration.
After implementing Phase I of Byteworks' recommendations, which included reworking the core of the wireless network for reliability and accessibility, Spelman's campus had reliable and high-performance wireless network access for students, faculty, and staff within the Phase 1 buildout. Areas that previously had problems with connectivity or reauthentication were tested by Spelman's IT staff and found to have universal access. Not only did Byteworks' recommendations and methodical approach produce great results, they completed the work within a very aggressive timeline in order to have the new network in place before the start of the Fall semester.
Acknowledging Byteworks' flexibility as an agile and responsive company, the college administration was thrilled by their ability of Byteworks to deliver quality results under a compressed timeline. After the successful implementation of Phase I, Spelman engaged Byteworks to quickly begin work on Phase II and Phase III to continue the momentum of incorporating the new wireless capability into additional buildings across the campus.