University of Miami Goes Wireless

— July 30, 2014

Due to the substantial increase in mobile devices within varied academic, research, residential and clinical care environments, the University of Miami and its health system—UHealth-University of Miami Health System—have selected Aruba Networks Inc. for an organization-wide wireless network upgrade.

The network will cover 200 buildings and 11 million square feet of the University's three main campuses, as well as UHealth's three hospitals and two dozen outpatient facilities. Serving more than 15,000 students, as well as the fast-growing medical center—which includes 40 buildings across 72 acres—the organization's primary challenge was to meet the connectivity needs of all these differing facilities.

“We completed multiple pilots in high concentration areas with students, as well as dense areas on our Medical campus, and the Aruba access points were clearly the best-performing in these high density situations,” said Stewart Seruya, Assistant VP and Chief Network Officer for Information Technology, University of Miami. "The Aruba APs handled the different hand-off scenarios we posed—particularly in our medical environment where there are lots of wireless devices being used by the nurses, staff, and physicians—and they passed all of our stress tests."

Expanding Mobile Capabilities
The University has deployed Aruba mobility controllers, the Aruba 130 Series APs and the AirWave Network Management system. To date, the institution has installed approximately 2,300 Aruba APs, with another 4,000 planned over the next twelve months. They are also in the process of configuring Aruba's ClearPass Access Management System to enable BYOD.

The University of Miami and UHealth have begun a deployment schedule that will eventually result in the Aruba infrastructure covering its entire campus and medical facilities. Currently, the main University buildings, hospitals and specialty practices are all outfitted with the new gear and over the summer of 2014, the key residential colleges will be upgraded.

The organization intends to open a new, 200,000-square-foot outpatient facility that will be upgraded with the wireless infrastructure. The institution will also provide wireless network coverage for major new buildings on campus including a School of Music, a Marine School, and a unique research and science facility that incorporates three stories of water to study weather patterns and storm impact.

"Mobility is crucial for all of our institution's academic and medical staff, students and patients, and strategic to the success of the University and UHealth," said Brad Rohrer, Associate Vice President and Deputy CIO for Information Technology, University of Miami. "We suspect that more than 25,000 devices are connecting to our network daily and we've seen peaks as high as 18,000 devices simultaneously on the network. The expectation is to keep all of these users connected reliably and without disruption, anytime and anywhere across the entire organization. The infrastructure is absolutely critical in making this happen."

Future Planning
Rohrer noted that in both the academic and medical environments, the institution is relying more heavily upon the wireless network. "We want to get to the point where it doesn't matter what type of device people are using, as long as they can do their job. The network will support whatever devices are being used and will enable easy, secure access for everyone."

Future plans for the academic environment revolve primarily around BYOD, where the University wants to allow students, faculty and staff to self-configure their personal devices to the network without IT involvement—while maintaining security and HIPAA requirements.

For the medical environment, one of UHealth's key goals is to implement Electronic Medical Records (EMR). The wireless infrastructure is central to enabling EMR—as it will allow the various wireless medical devices to communicate.

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