Wireless and Remote connectivity Challenge – Sanford University
Sanford University is a medium-sized university in the outskirts of Philadelphia. Formed
in 1966, it has grown steadily through the incorporation of additional colleges and
further education providers, but retains an emphasis on engineering, science and
Today, it numbers around 15,000 students and 2,000 staff.
As part of a five-year strategic plan, the university’s “Open Kingdom” project aims to
create a consistent user experience across the campus, including the provision of
wireless network access. This last issue became critical in the summer of 2012, when
the Students body insisted on wireless access for all residential buildings before starting
negotiations on 2013 rents.
“We’d traditionally viewed wired as good enough for everybody,” says John Patrick.
network and data center manager for the University. “What became very clear was that
wired wasn’t good enough for our students. Wired wasn’t their typical network
experience. They expect the same experience on campus as they have at home.
Students wanted to do their computing anywhere, anyhow, on the go, inside the
campus, outside the campus. They didn’t want to be a slave to the cable.”
Patrick and his team needed a solution in place before the January 2013 deadline.
The solution needs to provide wireless access coverage in the 7 buildings across
campus, four of them residential, and for the solution to provide a robust remote access
system (VPN) for faculty and staff.
The solution should not discriminate between devices; students would be free to use
smartphones, games consoles or tablets on the network, for work or play. However, the
network needed to differentiate between staff, students, conference visitors and guests,
granting the appropriate access to services. Ultimately, with thousands of users bringing
their own devices onto the network, it needed to maintain the security of the university’s
Sanford University layout
Residential buildings - 6 stories with 25 rooms per floor
Classroom / conference building - 4 stories and 40 classrooms per floor. Auditorium
and Cafeteria located on ground floor.
Classroom / Admissions / Library building - 7 stories with 20 offices or classrooms per
Data center on campus - provides IT services to the entire campus.