Architecture and Deployment of Large College Wireless Network

Challenges

This higher educational institution was performing this upgrade to their existing wireless environment in order to achieve more control and visibility. With the school’s network already very large and continuing to grow, the client load was becoming significantly more than their previous technology was able to handle. At the time this university had six SSIDs broadcasting and was hoping to consolidate all of them into a single SSID without sacrificing security, functionality, or performance.

Selection Criteria

The school was looking to redesign their wireless network in order to take advantage of the Aruba Clear Pass solution feature set. They wanted to utilize endpoint classification of all devices connecting to their wireless network, user authentication and accountability, and a simple workflow that would be intuitive for the user community to adapt. The goal was to redesign their network using a centralized system for policy enforcement and management.

Solution

With the specific objectives the school was looking to accomplish clearly defined, Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager was chosen because of its ability to meet and exceed their needs for endpoint classification, user authentication, and additional control and visibility. This solution also provided the needed scalability and HA necessary in a large enterprise network. Its feature-set and user friendly customization ability provided exactly what the school was looking to accomplish.

Before going live with Aruba ClearPass in the production environment, Vandis built, deployed, and tested all functionality in an isolated test bed for the school’s IT employees. This allowed Vandis and the school to work out any minor issues that may arise before going live. To ensure proper integration between existing Cisco WLCs and the new Aruba ClearPass, Vandis implemented custom policies, rules, and configurations within ClearPass in order to meet the design requirements and get core functionality to work properly. Once the solution was fully operational, Vandis sat down with the school’s IT team to fully review the installation and complete a transfer of knowledge. The purpose of the knowledge transfer was to ensure that the schools IT group was comfortable with the configuration, ready to take ownership, and answer any questions the team had.

Results

With Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager deployed, the school was able to consolidate their multiple SSIDs into one and could manage their user and guest wireless access policy enforcements centrally. In addition, they now have the visibility they required to correlate user-to-device accountability and to track analytics about that user or device. With Aruba in place, this higher education institution can now manage a wireless network that meets security and audit compliancy while providing the end user with easy to use, reliable network connectivity.

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