BEIJING, CHINA - SUNNYVALE, CA - March 19, 2012 - Ruckus Wireless™ today announced that its Smart Wi-Fi products and technology are being deployed by leading colleges and universities throughout China to deliver ultra-reliable, low-cost, high-speed mobile broadband services to hundreds of thousands of students and staff.
Guangxi Unicom, a unit of China Unicom, is using a wide range of Smart Wi-Fi products and technologies to deliver public broadband access across eight universities and colleges in Guangxi province. Additionally, China’s Shaanxi Normal University (SNNU) has selected Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi to construct a massive, multi-campus wireless infrastructure with more than 1,200 APs supporting 50,000 students and staff.
“China has been accelerating its investments in higher education through the use of new wireless technology to improve the quality of learning,” said Louis Au, VP of APAC at Ruckus Wireless. “The nation sees education essential to increasing its competitiveness and vital to sustaining the rapid growth of its economy.” Au noted that given the explosion of mobile Internet and online resources, campus Wi-Fi networks are seen as the must-have for today’s higher education institutions delivering a quick return on investment. However with the deluge of mobile devices within classsrooms, labs and auditoriums, the challenge for campus Wi-Fi has been intensifying. “The flood of data-hungry mobile devices is unstoppable driving new density issues that are causing companies to rethink their wireless equipment and network strategies,” said Au.
Building a Carrier-Class Network for Public Access
With a total population of over 46 million people, Guangxi province is located in the far southeast of China and has approximately 100 higher education institutions serving more than a million students. China Unicom has the most extensive networks of the world’s most popular 3G technology - WCDMA. China Unicom is the first mobile operator to distribute Apple’s iPhones in China. To date, China Unicom has accumulated over 43 million 3G subscribers.
Previously Guangxi Unicom experienced a variety of problems in their legacy Wi-Fi equipment that made it difficult for them to offer a reliable and profitable service. Due to the use of conventional antenna technology in their previous Wi-Fi system, complete wireless coverage was difficult to extend across campuses.
With the new Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure, more than 100,000 students and teaching staff will now have reliable and high-speed wireless access to online services for academic usage at various indoor and outdoor.
Over 400 Ruckus ZoneFlex™ outdoor access points (APs) and 80 Ruckus ZoneFlex wireless bridges are being deployed across eight university campuses in the province, covering an area of over 2,000 acres. These university campuses include: Lijiang College of Guangxi Normal University, Liuzhou Normal College, Talent International College Guangxi, Yulin Normal University, Hechi University, Liuzhou Railway Vocational Technical College, Guilin University of Electronic Technology and Liuzhou Vocational & Technical College.
The Ruckus solution being deployed by Guangxi Unicom includes outdoor mesh APs, indoor Wi-Fi gateways, long-range, high-speed wireless bridges for backhauling, and system-wide network management.
With the new broadband wireless services powered by Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi, students within all the deployed campuses are now have wireless broadband services, based on their subscribed data service package from Guangxi Unicom, ranging from 512Kbps to 2Mbps,. Subscribers have the flexibility to use of this add-on Wi-Fi access with their smartphones, tablets or any other Wi-Fi only devices – giving them the option to hop on Wi-Fi for faster mobile Internet usage.
May the Best AP Win
The largest university campus Wi-Fi network in western China at Shaanxi Normal University (SNNU) is built with more than 1,200 Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access points and five ZoneDirector 3000 WLAN controllers, SNNU’s Wi-Fi infrastructure spans two large locations covering more than 1.8 million square meter (445 hectares).
Established in 1944, SNNU is one of the six teaching universities directly affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. SNNU is a direct benefactor of various programs and investments to raise education level of China, especially those living in rural regions. The university is an important supply base of teachers to fuel the expansion of China’s education system. SNNU is located near the centre of the historical city of Xian, the capital of the Shaanxi Province in central-northwest China.
Most of the universities in China have deployed campus wireless networks for student and faculty access, but many have been not able to serve the density of mobile devices and also suffer from spotty signal coverage. SNNU’s previous system was assembled as a patchwork of systems and did not cover many of the main teaching areas. In addition, there were frequent dropouts and many of the smartphones were not able to maintain a stable connections
According to Yu Weisheng, Deputy Director of Networks Information Center at SNNU, after several rounds of competitive Wi-Fi testing, Ruckus’s Smart Wi-Fi access points (APs) were selected for their stable performance, faster and ability to connect to a large number of mobile devices reliably. “On top of this, Ruckus provides a complete family of smart Wi-Fi APs and their technical team provides full support to our deployment. Those factors were a definite plus point for us in choosing Ruckus,” said Yu.
Ruckus APs have now been deployed to cover the indoor and outdoor areas of both the new and old campuses, which are populated with academic buildings, teaching buildings, dormitory apartment, education resource center, administration building. For unified management of the Wi-Fi network, Ruckus WLAN controllers are deployed in wiring closets in the two campus.
The new wireless infrastructure network connects student’s mobile devices to a wide range of applications, which include the university intranet, library facilities, email communications, video surveillance, and mobile back-office applications. Most students and faculty members are no longer restricted to access the campus network at a fixed time or certain area.
“Previously, Ethernet cabling was required to connect every access point in order to extend the coverage,” said Yu. “However this is almost impossible for a large campus like SNNU. Ruckus’ SmartMesh technology solved this problem. Now we can simply plug an access point into a nearby power socket and the Ruckus SmartMesh technology will automatically connect the APs to the network without the cost or labor to run additional cabling. This has dramatically simplified the whole deployment process and made adding more capacity for density possible in minutes.“
The wireless network has been highly praised by faculty staff and students at the university. SNNU is planning to further expand the network at a later stage, encouraging more interaction and sharing over the campus’ Wi-Fi network through a stable and innovative campus WLAN environment.
About Shaanxi Normal University
Shaanxi Normal University (SNNU) is one of the key institutions of higher learning directly affiliated to Ministry of Education and it entered “211 Project University” in 2006, located in Xi’an, one of the four world famous historic and cultural cities. SNNU is an important base of fostering teachers of higher education, middle school education and educational administrative cadres. It is regarded as “the cradle of teachers” in Northwest China. The university was founded in 1944, covering an area of more than 2,700 mus. It has two Campuses including Yanta Campus and Chang’an Campus. For 60 years, SNNU has been built into an influential top comprehensive university based on the west, and has fostered near 130,000 graduates of all kinds for the nation. The students enrolled at university amount to more than 50,000, among whom there are 7,595 post-graduates and 17,495 undergraduates, nearly 40,000 students in Further Education College or Net-education College, and 815 foreign students. At present, the university has approximately 1,000 public operating equipment and 22,000 information points for campus network, with more than 20,000 registered internet users.