UNISC Increases its Wi-Fi Network Capacity 10 Times with Extreme Networks

Introduction

The 23-year old Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC) is a higher learning institution located in Santa Cruz do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul State. In addition to four other campuses in Capão da Canoa, Sobradinho, Venâncio Aires and Montenegro, the institution also runs a university hospital and owns a 75,043-acre Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN/UNISC).

UNISC currently has 650 teachers and around 13 thousand students distributed across undergraduate and specialization courses, masters and doctoral degrees, some of them offered in both classroom and distance learning modes.

Higher access volume and focus on stimulating research

With its eyes on the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, and due to the exponential increase in the number of simultaneous Wi-Fi accesses, one of UNISC’s major challenges was to increase its wireless capacity to support the policy for expanding teacher and student access to the network. According to Leandro Fava, head of the ICT (information and communication technology) infrastructure team, the strategy would be geared primarily to stimulating research.

It would be necessary to replace the core installed in 2000 with one capable of supporting the mobile access expansion projected for the next decade, and fully meet the need for protocol implementation to enable assigning all devices on the university network public IP.

Extreme Networks helps the institution prepare for the future

The Rio Grande do Sul State University was the first educational institution in Brazil to acquire the ExtremeSwitching™ X8 switch, equipment that had just been released by the manufacturer Extreme Networks at the time, and the most robust unit in the line for supporting a high-demand service infrastructure. The new core provided a tenfold increase to the information flow capacity, and the support to applications accessed daily by teachers and students. The project was implemented by the Extreme Networks partner TechDec Informática, and covers all of the university’s facilities.

With the change, the institution is currently using less than 5% of the equipment’s capacity, which ensures broad flexibility for the network’s expansion in the coming years. “There is a growing demand not only in the number of users and devices, but also in content, which requires an increasingly higher network availability. Today we are prepared to easily handle the growth for the next seven years,” points out Fava.

The N7 model core switch used since 2008 has 1 Gb ports and was already working with capacity expansion modules. Extreme’s new ExtremeSwitching™ X8 offers up to 768 x 10 Gb ports and a 20 Tbps capacity, and a network architecture with the market’s highest transfer rate and extremely low latency. The solution is designed to support the demand for cloud-based services and a large number of mobile accesses.

“We had a significant growth in the number of wireless network accesses in recent years, with an average increase of one thousand mobile devices annually. We reached peaks of 6,500 simultaneous connections and, with this expansion, the infrastructure was being used at levels close to 90% of capacity”, explained Hilton Dias, the university’s IT coordinator.