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April 11, 2012

Brandeis University Picks Aruba S3500s Mobility Switches to Unify Wired and Wireless Access Networks

By Jyothi Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributor

After detailed head-to-head testing and production network use, Brandeis University (News - Alert) has decided to adapt Aruba Network’s S3500 Mobility Switches after replacing Juniper and Cisco (News - Alert) access switches throughout the campus.

John W. Turner, director for Networks and Systems at Brandeis University said that the S3500’s tight integration with the Aruba Mobility Controller extends the context-awareness that they have with the Aruba WLAN, including knowledge of user, device, application and location, to their wired network.

“It is a completely new development in access networking. Yes, the S3500 is a reasonably-priced POE switch, but I believe the real magic of the S3500 series is the ability it gives us to create and maintain a full community of edge users, regardless of whether they are wired or wireless,” Turner added.

The university is also using the Aruba Mobility Access Switch together with their existing wireless controllers to transform their edge into a single continuous access layer. To make sure if the new set up works, the University independently validated the performance and reliability of the S3500 in its own testing lab.

“We needed to validate the S3500 in our own environment,” says Turner. “We wanted to make sure the switch could handle everything that exists on a busy campus network. If the S3500 wasn’t a reliable switch, wasn’t a reliable router, it wouldn’t be here on campus.”

The new Aruba S3500 Mobility Switches offers Power over Ethernet (PoE) to all access points (APs) with approximately 30 percent less power draws than Cisco and Juniper switches, confirmed the University officials.

Brandeis has been a customer of Aruba’s since early 2005, when it replaced its then-Cisco wireless network with an Aruba WLAN. The university has since greatly expanded the WLAN, completely eliminating wired access in its residence halls in 2011. The university has approximately 100 buildings and 7,000 users that connect to that network every day, many with three or more mobile devices.

“Working with progressive customers like Brandeis is truly a pleasure, in that it makes us think hard and innovate quickly,” said Keerti Melkote (News - Alert), chief strategic officer for Aruba. “Brandeis is more than just a customer, it’s a collaborator. The things that John and his team push us to do solve real-world problems for Brandeis and for others.”

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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