AUB to deploy Middle East's largest wireless grid

Aruba Wireless Networks has announced that the American University of Beirut will chose the vendor's wireless grid architecture to provide secure, pervasive and high performance indoor/ outdoor Wi-Fi coverage to a massive 70-acre campus making it the region's largest planned wireless network.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  September 21, 2004

Aruba Wireless Networks (Aruba) has announced that the American University of Beirut (AUB) has standardised on Aruba's Wireless Grid architecture and related products to provide secure, pervasive and high performance indoor/ outdoor Wi-Fi coverage to a massive 70-acre campus. Considered the largest planned WLAN network in the Middle East, AUB's wireless grid is currently being installed by Aruba's reseller partner, Triple C (Computer Communications Consultants) of Beirut, Lebanon. Founded in 1866 under a charter from the State of New York, AUB has grown from 16 students in a rented house to a major university with over 6,900 students located on a 73-acre campus. The university's decision to build a massive, high performance WLAN was predicated on improving student and faculty productivity by delivering more flexible access to a variety of data center applications. These apps include e-mail, internet, library catalogue and journals, computer-based courseware, student information system and intranet services. “This is a state of the art wireless network. The American University of Beirut will be in position to deploy additional applications it chooses on this high performance wireless network,” says Jacques Rahmouch, business development manager at Triple C. The university is deploying 300 new, low cost Aruba 60 series grid points covering 33 multi- story buildings and 21 outdoor areas where students assemble. The programmable single radio 802.11 a/b/g APs will be placed into seven zones of the AUB campus that are interlinked with their wired meshed Gigabit Ethernet connections. “Our vision is to deliver value to our students, faculty members and staff by providing ubiquitous and secure access to the university's core business applications and intranet/Internet services," says Rabih Itani, network and security manager, computing and networking Services at AUB. “We wanted a state-of-the-art wireless LAN (WLAN) solution with affordable and predictable cost of ownership." The dense deployment of Aruba Series 61 grid points in user workspace will allow AUB to provide high performance 802.11a or b/g wireless connectivity when and where needed. The grid points will also be deployed in ceiling spaces to provide outdoor coverage using detachable antennas. The phased deployment, scheduled to be fully operational by September 2005 will bring secure wireless connectivity across the University’s campus. AUB anticipates over 1,000 users to initially register for the wireless service. Aruba’s Wireless Grid products claim to cut deployment and operations costs while increasing the performance AUB’s WLAN. Aruba's wireless grid provides AUB with a structured deployment model. Bringing APs out of the ceiling and into the existing structured cabling infrastructure, AUB realises low cost, rapid and dense wireless deployment, resulting in better coverage and capacity over conventional approaches. The wireless zones will be managed by eight Aruba 2400 series switches equipped with Aruba's wireless IDS software that allows AUB to automatically detect and eliminate rogue APs, wireless interference sources, ad-hoc networks and to block a wide variety of wireless intrusions and attacks. “Aruba's wireless grid concept seamlessly integrates into and complements our layer 2/3 Gigabit Ethernet wired network. It gives us the ability to cost-effectively build a pervasive wireless environment tuned to performance without sacrificing security. That's precisely what's needed for wireless to become mainstream,” says Itani. “We are proud to partner with such a prestigious university on the largest planned WLAN deployment in the Middle East and provide our WLAN architecture for the benefits of students and teachers,” says Pascal Desaint Ph.D., Aruba Wireless Networks' general manager for France, Southern Europe and Africa. Aruba's partner Triple C will be involved in the design and integration of the project. The privately-held Aruba received over US$59 million in three rounds of venture capital funding till date.

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