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3/10/2008
04:21 PM
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University Of Minnesota Plans Wi-Fi Network For 80,000

The installation will cover 1,204 acres across the university's two campuses and supercede a current network of scattered Wi-Fi access points.

The University of Minnesota is preparing to roll out what it calls the "world's largest 802.11n deployment" at the Big Ten university's two campuses. The deployment, to get under way in May, eventually will serve 80,000 students and staff.

The deployment, to be implemented by Trapeze Networks, has the advantage of having a single customer. Many large municipal Wi-Fi deployments have been delayed or killed because competing commercial, political, and consumer interests couldn't agree on a successful rollout plan.

The installation, which will cover 1,204 acres across the university's two campuses, will supercede a current network of scattered Wi-Fi access points set up by different equipment suppliers and will support future wireless technologies like WiMax.

"The network management and planning tools allowed us to quickly import our own CAD drawings and immediately begin Wi-Fi planning for 300 buildings, including 1,300-plus floors," said Steve Cawley, the university's CIO and VP of information technology, in a statement. The university's Twin Cities campus straddles the Mississippi River, which divides the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.

The network, which is scheduled to be built out over five years, will cover more than 22 million square feet indoors and additional large areas outdoors. Satellite mapping tools like Google Earth will be available for users to check where coverage exists.

Jim Vogt, chairman and chief executive officer of Trapeze, noted that the firm's Smart Mobile intelligent switching technology paves the way for next-generation wireless applications such as toll-quality voice over WLAN for thousands of users.

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