Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The University of Memphis Upgrades Its Technology to Prepare for the Future

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The University of Memphis Upgrades Its Technology to Prepare for the Future

Article excerpt

The University of Memphis' goal is to become one of the nation's leading research and technology transfer facilities. As part of that effort, the university sought a cost-effective, innovative solution to upgrade its communications network. We found that having "no wires" was the way to go, so we selected Avaya Wireless LAN Solutions (www.avaya.com) to give students and faculty the freedom to move about our 1,160-acre campus while using laptops, PDAs or other devices to connect to the Internet of the university's intranet.

This technology upgrade was further prompted by the university's rapid growth and administrative needs to provide its students and faculty with enough bandwidth to complete research today and well into the future. These higher bandwidth applications are essential for supporting the broad variety of academic programs that The University of Memphis offers, which range from architecture and fine arts to engineering and chemistry.

Investing in a 21st Century Education

The implementation, completed in October, reflects our strategic plan to use the latest technology to attract and retain outstanding faculty and students, as well as to offer the highest quality teaching and research services. As Dr. Shirley Raines, president of The University of Memphis, emphasizes, "Students in the 21st century expect a 21st century education." And we truly believe investing in innovative uses of IT, such as wireless, is absolutely critical for the university.

"Using wireless is a key technology advantage for the university because it overcomes the dual barriers of time and distance," says Doug Hurley, rice president of IT and CIO at the university. "Wireless enables just-in-time learning and encourages innovative interactions in ways never before possible."

We looked to Avaya to help extend the boundaries of learning so that everyone could use PDAs and laptops to move outside the traditional classroom and no longer be limited to four walls. With more than 20,000 students, the university has deployed more than 1,100 Avaya Wireless Access Points across campus--making it one of the largest university implementations of wireless in the mid-South.

Students and faculty alike can take advantage of the Avaya Wireless LAN Solution, which features a dual-slotted architecture that supports a combination of the newer 802.11 a standard and the previous standards of 802.11b and 802.11g radio PC cards. The newer standard's larger frequency allocation provides access to a broader range of data-intensive applications such as downloading large Web files while bridging into a videoconference call. This Avaya Wireless AP-3 Access Point also enables our support personnel to use IP-based soft phones--a computer that acts as a fully featured telephone via an IP address on the university's network.

As our university's degree programs encourage laptop use, it is critical that students have the freedom to move around a labor other location with access to the Internet or intranet from anywhere. And student demand for wireless technology continues to grow as many purchase Wi-Fi-compliant wireless cards in the student center. …

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