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TMCNet:  Building an infrastructure for tomorrows educators

[February 07, 2013]

Building an infrastructure for tomorrows educators

Feb 07, 2013 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- With a clutch of new tablets due to be released in 2013, there has never been a better time to take stock and consider how new technology can best be used to support academia. With the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend gaining momentum, are existing University networks going to be able to cope with changes in the way we work Manish Sablok, Head of Marketing for CNE Europe at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, shows how some Higher Education establishments have managed to cope with the rise of BYOD and discusses the value that cloud delivery brings to the education market.

An average fresher will have arrived at University this academic year with at least a two or three of the following: a smartphone, a laptop, and a tablet computer. They may also bring their Xbox and PlayStation. Sometimes they will have all of the above. And in every case, they will expect each single device to work on the University network.

Last year, Edinburgh University's Law School gave 15 academic staff-members iPads as part of a pilot programme to discover whether tablet computers could be used in day-to-day academia. The project's findings, published in June, claimed near universally positive responses from iPad users. Staff found that they were able to read essays submitted to them in a variety of file formats, saving on printing costs.

Students and academics are increasingly finding that there are huge advantages to embracing new ways to access learning materials. Finishing essays to a high standard becomes far easier if that must-read academic article can be accessed from a mobile device, especially for work outside library closing hours. By ensuring that vital online academic resources can be viewed as easily from a phone as they can from the University library removes a massive obstacle to students learning in their own way.

Building for tomorrow One example of this development for the future is the University of West England (UWE), which has faced the challenge of improving staff and student collaboration, as well as communication with external organisations.

In order to reduce the cost of circuit rentals, Bristol-based UWE has deployed a VoIP solution supported by an extensive network management platform from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The key driver of the project was a new UWE student village and sports centre, both of which required communications links with other sites and campuses. As it examined ways to reduce the cost of campus-wide communications, the University proposed converged voice and data network migration would have the potential to improve internal processes throughout the entire organisation.

Its not just for academics and students Recently another University, the University of Portsmouth, addressed the student Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) expectations with improved, pervasive wireless coverage, which enabled its 23,000 students and nearly 2,500 academic and support staff to access resources remotely around the campus, significantly improving their learning environment.

Prior to the implementation, the University had wireless hotspots set up around the campus within selected social and staff areas. The Alcatel-Lucent technology enables the University to address new student demands for access via any device and provides increased coverage in areas of higher density, such as the University Library and lecture theatres. The solution also offers lecturers another tool to use as part of a new way of teaching students, allowing students to access departmental resources from any location across the campus.

The solution enables the Estates Department to receive new maintenance jobs on the move rather than needing to go back to a central office, enabling it to address health and safety issues as they arise as well as increase productivity on standard maintenance tasks. The infrastructure provides a secure and reliable solution, enabling the University of Portsmouth to prioritise users and grant different levels of access to different parties, based on their requirements.

Managing cost and going green Universities who plan and build networks for the future also gain the chance to keep long-term IT costs down. Across the Atlantic, California State University the largest public university system in the US has also recently opted to incorporate new network infrastructure which will have a single network infrastructure used by almost 430,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff in 23 campuses. With campuses covering the length of California, its a seriously diverse university system.

The University will add cloud computing technology in the future, serving its communities more efficiently and at lower costs. It is another University that opted to use Alcatel-Lucent's greener energy efficient OmniSwitch technology.

It also opted for standards compliance-based networking and security, availability and performance were key in their decision which as a result will enable it to move to the cloud and take the cost advantages which come with it.

The cloud has real cost and access advantages due to its easily scalable delivery, and academics certainly seem to be giving it the thumbs up! ((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at on the world wide web. Inquiries to

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