Cal Lutheran Does a Wireless Act

California Lutheran University (CLU)—in an effort to guard against rogue wireless networks, authenticate student and faculty users, control network access and maintain connectivity across subnets—installed a wireless communication system at its Thousand Oaks, Calif., campus in February. The system can be managed remotely and scaled to support future additions.

05/01/2003


California Lutheran University (CLU)—in an effort to guard against rogue wireless networks, authenticate student and faculty users, control network access and maintain connectivity across subnets—installed a wireless communication system at its Thousand Oaks, Calif., campus in February. The system can be managed remotely and scaled to support future additions. Not only does it free faculty and students from the boundaries of plug-in computer use, but it also offers them an alternative when the limited number of terminals at the school's computer labs become full.

"We wanted to guard against people setting up multiple wireless networks that would prevent user authentication for other network users or lead to sensitive information flowing out of the university," says Zareh Marselian, the university's director of technical services. "Rogue access points also tend not to be configured properly, putting the entire network's security at risk." Marselian also stresses that such a system is important for attracting top students and faculty.

Initially, the project was intended for two science buildings. However, it was expanded to include seven more buildings, and service is also available in various common areas. The mobility and session abilities of the system allow networked applications and connections, such as e-mail and Internet browsers, to run without interruption even as users travel between floors and buildings. It works with multiple wireless technologies, equipment brands and connected devices, and as a result, there is no mandate on which type of network card users employ. To take advantage of the network, all a user needs is a CLU e-mail account and password, a laptop and a wireless card available from the information systems and services office, and they're ready to go.

"We were very pleased that the wireless LAN deployment was up and running very quickly and came in far under what we had budgeted for," Marselian says. With the funds saved, he says, the university was able to buy 12 new laptops for faculty use.

Campus dormitories are next in line for the wireless network, as access points will be added to every dorm.

For more on wireless networks, see "Bridging the Future," (CSE 07/02, p. 30).





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