Luzhou Medical College has installed a Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi system at its campus in Sichuan, China with the help of managed services provider China Telecom. The network is one of the largest Wi-Fi systems ever installed on a campus of this sort in China.
The two key campuses at the college, Zhongshan and Chengbei, have installed a combination of over 1,600 Ruckus ZoneFlex 7341 indoor and Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762-S outdoor access point (APs), centrally managed with Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 controllers.
The college worked with China Telecom to complete the overall network design of phase one of the project, installing new Ruckus APs. Phase one mainly covers student dormitory buildings, office and teaching buildings.
Of the total 1,600 Ruckus APs, 1,000 ZoneFlex 7341 802.11n indoor APs are allocated for 20 dormitory buildings, and another 500+ are for office and classroom buildings. The remaining Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762-S outdoor APs are deployed for the College’s outdoor public areas.
A network for 15,000 users
Luzhou Medical College, located in Luzhou city in Sichuan Province, is a leading medical school in this key economic centre of western China. The College consists of two main campuses – the Zhongshan and North campuses, covering a total of 327,547 square meters including the teaching blocks, dormitories, canteens, stadium and a swimming pool.
Covering 170,000 square meters of classroom and office areas, and 100,000 square meters of dormitory buildings, the College’s sprawling new network can provide reliable, high-performance Internet access to more than 15,000 faculty and students who are increasingly using multiple mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The new Ruckus deployment is designed to improve the user experience for more than 8,000 concurrent clients during peak hours.
Solving the density issues
The College’s network centre initially purchased unmanaged, consumer-grade wireless access points (APs), and connected them to the Ethernet ports in each dormitory room to provide wireless access for multiple PC users. However, the centre began to receive complaints about frequent dropped signals and unstable connections and the centre could not locate the root of the problems.
Meanwhile, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become increasingly popular with students in the last two years, highlighting the growing “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend in educational institutions around the world. The sheer quantity of mobile devices operating in the same physical area is much more dense than that of desktop PCs and laptops.
Ruckus said its equipment has solved these problems thanks to its ability to provide high capacity Smart Wi-Fi technology, which can effectively handle more users per AP at longer ranges without sacrificing performance.
China Telecom’s role
Another challenge that needed to be overcome was budget. Yuqing and his IT department wanted to build a new campus-wide wireless network, with the goal of realizing complete coverage within two to three years, and providing much faster and more reliable Internet access service for students and teachers.
“We found that most mobile operators were positive on the prospects of using Wi-Fi for deployments such as ours, as it can effectively help offload the pressure on their 3G cellular networks,” said Yuqing.
“Carriers also like the fact that the cost to set up a Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network is much lower than expanding their cellular network with additional small cells. It’s a win-win solution for property owners and operators to cooperate when it comes to Wi-Fi, with property owners providing the installation space, while operators provide devices and set up these Wi-Fi networks.”
Yuqing continued: “China Telecom was able to come in and help us greatly with the initial deployment, pushing forward a steady implementation of the project. We believe they’re the right company to build such a large WLAN network, and are grateful for their generous assistance.
“We believe China Telecom assisting us with this Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi deployment will be a good return on their investment, as it will help them in better serving clients like us in the education market,” concluded Yuqing.
Over the past nine months, the data recorded by a Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 controller shows that two time periods recorded the highest traffic - from 12 noon to 2pm, and from 7pm to 10pm. Concurrent clients always reach 7,000-8,000, with heavy social media application usage, online streaming of media broadcasting and the uploading and downloading of videos and other typically high bandwidth or delay-sensitive applications.
“We did not receive any complaints, thanks to the high capacity Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi solution. We’re now free to focus our efforts on other important tasks, like educating our students,” said Yuqing.
The College plans to further extend its Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network deployment to cover the entire campus area, based on their successful phase one deployment. Up to 3,000 APs are expected to be deployed when the project is complete.
Once completed, the comprehensive Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi network will ensure reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi across the entire Luzhou Medical College campus, which will make it the largest college campus Wi-Fi network deployment in China to date.