North Lindsay College

Student Experience Improved by Connectivity Speeds

Administration burden is reduced by Aerohive wireless solution installed and supported by AIT Partnership Group Ltd at North Lindsey College.

North Lindsey College is the largest provider of post-16 education and training in North Lincolnshire. A thriving institution, the college comprises 12 curriculum areas and occupies an area of 33 acres supporting thousands of students. The College provides a broad range of vocational and academic courses for school leavers and adults, and works with local employers like Tata Steel to train our next generation of talent.

The challenge

As part of its ongoing £12.2 million campus modernisation to support future growth plans, North Lindsey College has revamped its wireless network. “We have experienced exponential growth in mobile devices being used at college,” said Keith Urry, Senior ICT Network and Security Officer at North Lindsey College. “Staff and students use the wireless network more than ever to access teaching materials, for research and for social applications.”

The wireless network needed upgrading to current 802.11ac wireless standards to enable more devices to connect to and support a greater bandwidth. The wireless solution the College had been using was not suited to meet the growing needs of staff and students, so the network team also wanted to make it easier to setup and control network access with more granular policies.

The solution

AIT recommended an Aerohive Networks solution with 802.11ac access points along with Aerohive’s cloud based Hive Manager.

145 access points were required to provide coverage in all teaching and social areas throughout the campus, plus another 28 for the newly built Engineering Technology Centre (ETC) facility bringing the total to 173 access points. The state of the art ETC facility opened in September 2015 and provided students with the latest engineering equipment and industry experienced teachers.

The Aerohive architecture means that each access point incorporates its own controller to provide access control at the edge of the network, rather than traditional single controller architecture, eliminating potential bottlenecks in the network.

The Aerohive management platform, Hive Manager, is a cloud based management platform that uses a web interface to setup user access rights, controls the resources each user can see, and determines what applications they can run on their mobile devices. The Hive Manager is an out-of band solution, regularly updating the controller in every access point with this information which then works autonomously from the Hive manager.

The result

The wireless network was upgraded over the summer of 2014 with installation work at the new ETC facility taking place in June 2015. The network team quickly got to grips with the cloud based Hive Manager and set up the required policies and access rights for each segment of the staff and students.