WiFi AP in a Box
We are responding to a new technology request that I believe will set a trend for Higher Ed tech support. The typical IT help desk is about solving basic computer hardware issues. I have mentioned in the past that I see this trending toward technology coaching. But IT service units have also been about classroom tech support. In the early days this was about delivering technology such as projectors or video capture equipment. In recent years we have been making strategic decisions about permanent installation of this equipment when usage demand justifies it. The new trend is deployment of additional WiFi access points to respond to the need for increased WiFi demand, typically driven by higher density.
AP in a box that you can checkout at the IT Service Desk. Why is this going to trend? I would guess that most IT operations have dealt with the WiFi failure scenario where a gathering of a larger then normal number of WiFi clients with a critical access need experienced less then satisfactory performance. The most recent for us was a certain program wanting all of their majors to take an online test provided by an external entity. In their eyes this was entirely possible. All of their students use laptops. WiFi performance has never been an issue. So why not ask all of these students to come to a specific room so that they can take a semi proctored online exam. That translated to about 50 students in a classroom, but it really translated to about 100 devices in that classroom due to phones, etc. And of course the classroom above and the students in the hall were also competing. We have a very nice Aruba based WiFi deployment but these types of perfect storms will overwhelm most every well designed WiFi system.
How can this AP in a box work? It works because of our more intelligent AP that can use Auto Configuring to set their frequency zone and limit conflict with surrounding APs. I am thankful that this is easily accomplished by our Aruba system. Now we have to work out what this “AP in a Box” will look like.