Internet of Things Network Campus Solution

The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is affecting consumers, businesses, and most of all, schools and universities. It is ushering in a world where ordinary devices are becoming smart devices, connecting to the network, and controlled by smartphones. The number of IoT devices is growing exponentially. As the Internet of Things comes to the college campus, the requirements for network bandwidth and security must be well understood and expanded to accommodate the massive amount of data generated by the new devices and sensors.

Colleges and universities are poised to take advantage of the benefits of the Internet of Things, especially in two areas. By incorporating new IoT educational technology into the curriculum, schools can deliver a more personalized education. The Internet of Things can also improve the efficiency of the physical campus infrastructure, including HVAC and physical security. The range of IoT devices appearing on campus includes: eBooks and tablets; sensors in the hallways, entrances, classroom spaces, and buses; all sorts of fitness bands and wearables; virtual and augmented reality headsets; robots; video cameras and sensors; smart displays; smart lights; and smart locks, to name a few.

Critical Technology Issues for Internet of Things Network Campus

INSUFFICIENT CONNECTIVITY AND BANDWIDTH FOR INTERNET OF THINGS DEVICES AND CONTROLLERS

Internet of Things sensors, devices, and controllers require continuous connection to the network. One of the major IoT benefits is that these devices and sensors provide an enormous amount of data that can be analyzed and turned into actionable information. This presents the challenge of providing adequate bandwidth to handle the streams of data and to rapidly respond as necessary. The types of IoT data include video, audio, location tracking, temperature, pressure, motion, and status. To operate smoothly, there can be no bottlenecks from the Wi-Fi access points, back through the wired switches, and all the way to the broadband Internet connection and the data center.

Internet of Things devices and sensors tend to be mobile. Sensors may be located on cars and portable equipment. Also, wearables play an important and growing role on campus, along with a growing diversity of BYOD student devices. This means that wireless connectivity must be pervasive throughout the campus, both indoors and outside, including areas that would not normally be covered, such as equipment mezzanines, lofts, and basements.

With new devices coming and going on the network, it can be a challenge to provide easy onboarding of both school-owned and guest devices, and to imbue them with the appropriate access to resources. Some devices should only gain network access from designated locations, while it is important for other devices to maintain network access from all locations across the campus.

RISK TO STUDENT PRIVACY AND IT RESOURCES

In the midst of the diversity of devices on the network, student and faculty privacy and security must be fully maintained. FERPA is just one of the federal laws that protects the privacy of student education records. While the network must be capable of connecting all devices, it must also be very selective in doing so. Authorized devices should be expeditiously and effortlessly onboarded, while unauthorized devices must be prevented from gaining access to the network. The best way to implement this is with a defined policy as to which devices, users, and apps can access the network resources from defined locations at specified times of day. This policy needs to be implemented consistently across the network. Firewalls prevent access from outside sources and web filters prevent visits to malicious sites that can damage the network. To smoothly implement network policy across all resources requires integration with firewalls and web filters. The network must be capable of both controlling and monitoring all devices and network activity.

Unapproved applications and rogue devices pose a constant risk to the network. If a rogue device were to appear on the network, it could either permit unauthorized access or interfere with other devices. A means to monitor all devices and applications that operate across the network is vital.

Continuous Availability

The connections with IoT devices must be highly available or fault tolerant to insure uninterrupted teaching. This may require redundant access points, controllers, and switches.

Visibility into application usage, website access, bandwidth consumption, and patterns of activity is important for optimizing the user experience and verifying that digital educational content is reliably delivered. This tracking and visibility is also vital for optimizing the infrastructure design and for short-and long-term planning.

PROVIDING ADEQUATE TECHNICAL SERVICE AND SUPPORT

As campuses become dependent on IoT devices to not only maintain the HVAC environment, but to provide personalized education it is vital that any service or technical issues be resolved immediately, on a 24×7 basis.

Round-the-clock access to a global technical access center (GTAC) ensures that all support questions can be answered promptly to keep the network functioning at all times. Prior to installation, it is important to survey and assess the RF characteristics of the site to determine optimal placement of access points and switches. Depending on the level of network support resources available on campus, network training and managed services may be required.

The solution described below provides universities, colleges, and school districts with the network infrastructure necessary to insure reliable implementation of the Internet of Things across the campus. This includes the means to efficiently onboard and manage both school-owned and student-owned devices on the network, as well as maintain adequate data bandwidth to accommodate the data streams involved. The entire network can be managed from a window. That single window can also set policy for all devices, to determine which resources each device can access across the campus. The policy is based on a range of parameters that set device access rights based on user, device type, location, time of day, and 40 more attributes.

Extreme Networks is the only company in the industry that takes an architectural approach to bringing products to market from R&D to product release. As a result, all of our network products from wireless to wired are managed by a single ExtremeControl console for easy administration by resource-constrained IT teams. Our open, standards-based, and comprehensive SDN enables simple integration with third party technology such as web filters and firewalls. Extreme Networks’ software-driven networking solutions give every educator and student a better experience, every community a better connection, and every IT organization a better partner.

To learn more, visit our Higher Education Solution Center and our K-12 and Primary/Secondary Education Solution Center.

Required CapabilitiesRecommended SolutionHow We Do It Better
Pervasive Wi-Fi Connectivity and Bandwidth ExtremeWireless Access Points and Controllers
• AP Licenses, Radar Licenses
• 2x V2110 Virtualized Controller for High-Availability (for up to 1050 APs)
• Highly-scalable, highly-available, seamless and secure, easily-managed Wi-Fi connectivity
Wired Edge and Backhaul ExtremeSwitching• High-performance wired backhaul, cross-platform stacking, embedded application controls. PoE+
Device Onboarding and Network Access Control, Monitoring of Network and All Devices, Secure Guest Access Extreme Control Center
Extreme Identity and Access Control
• Consistent device policy based on over 40 attributes centrally implemented, enforced end-to-end
• Simple device onboarding, 100% fidelity of all IP assets
• Internet filter and firewall integration, MDM integration
Device and Application Usage Visibility and Insight • Professional Services
• Customer Training
• Visibility into applications and websites being accessed with user experience measurements from every part of the network
24/7 Operational Support Maintenance
Training
Professional Services
• Support Center (GTAC) provides technical support 24 hours day, 365 days a year
• Extreme Networks SupportNet offerings let you choose the exact level of service ideal for your organization

Download the Solution Brief