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Managing Congestion on Busy University Networks

As colleges and universities develop campus networks to support their online education activities, they find themselves competing with users who spend valuable bandwidth resources playing online games and downloading videos. Traditional university networks are ill-equipped to handle the bandwidth demands of online courseware and social media platforms. To tackle this problem, school campuses need precision network control with role-based rights management, fast resource access, and easy information sharing as well as high-density coverage.

Huawei’s Agile Education Campus Network solution helps universities provide increased wireless learning opportunities through innovative ICT technologies, such as intelligent application control, high-density coverage, and Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC). The virtualization technologies used in Huawei’s solution are able to prioritize and dynamically reassign high-capacity network resources to specific users or groups based on user service requirements such as time of day or campus location.

Network Management

Campus-wide wireless coverage involves thousands of Access Points (APs), and traditional networks with limited bandwidth and coverage often lack sophisticated management tools to troubleshoot faulty APs. Outdated network management systems are an impediment to efficient O&M and fault diagnostics. For example, older tools are unable to determine if a problem is being caused by a faulty AP or interference from other wireless devices.

Precision management is particularly important for wireless campus networks. Huawei’s Software-Designed Networking (SDN)-based mobile service system uses an Agile Controller for centralized network management and control based on users and services. The Agile Controller provides the following benefits:

  • Intensive User Management: The system specifies management and control policies based on users, access locations, and time points. For example, students can be limited to accessing campus intranets from 8 am to 9 pm in classroom buildings. Students in dormitories, however, need not be restrained by this policy. Teachers can access both Intranets and the Internet anytime, anywhere, and be allocated a larger slice of bandwidth than what is assigned to students.
  • Refined Service Management for Next-Generation Firewalls: Huawei’s next-generation firewalls are built to operate on protocols and applications from Layer 3 to Layer 7. This enables user-, device-, and region-based traffic analysis. Based on service requirements, administrators can configure policies, such as restricting Peer-to-Peer (P2P) traffic and intercepting specific websites.

Seamless, High-Density Access

As the number of mobile broadband users continues to grow, campus classrooms, labs, libraries, academic halls, conference rooms, and other locations will face the pressure for additional wireless access resources. Traditional networks with limited bandwidth and coverage were never built to accommodate this rate of expanding traffic. For example, high-density areas, such as cafeterias and auditoriums, often provide little additional coverage; thick dormitory walls can block radio transmission; and blind spots in open areas can disrupt mobile connectivity.

Campuses have diverse access requirements, with some areas having a high requirement for concurrent access. Without high-density access design, wireless connectivity in these locations suffers low performance and frequent disconnects. Huawei provides the following technologies and services to ensure complete coverage in all scenarios:

  • Professional Planning and Support: Dedicated teams offer professional, high-quality factory services throughout product lifecycles. In End-to-End (E2E) project delivery, Huawei leverages the industry’s most extensive product lines to offer solution-level network design services, improving customers’ Return On Investment (ROI). With Huawei’s professional planning tools, meticulous onsite surveys, and advanced interference detection methods, the resulting wireless network is assured to have stable and seamless signal coverage, and better performance.
  • Agile, Distributed Wi-Fi: The Huawei solution employs the industry’s first three-layer architecture (AC + Central AP + Remote RF Unit), and each central AP supports 48 Radio Frequency (RF) units. Indoor deployment of these RF units provides a central AP with high-quality wireless coverage for up to 48 buildings, significantly reducing the number of required APs and cutting configuration workloads by more than 90 percent. The reduced numbers of APs also lowers the number of configuration nodes. For instance, a college can use 200 nodes to provide wireless access for more than 100,000 rooms.
  • High-Density Optimization: With extensive experience in the deployment of high-density access scenarios, Huawei R&D has produced a number of high-density access optimization technologies for interference control, air interface efficiency, user dispatch, and load balancing. In addition, Huawei supports the latest Multi-User, Multi-Input, and Multi-Output (MU-MIMO) 802.11ac standard that allows devices to simultaneously transmit multiple data streams over different paths.

Simplified Operations

The Huawei Agile Education Campus Network solution converges wired and wireless networks. FMC techniques are used to reduce the number of devices and simplify their configuration and management workloads. Agile switches support on-board AC by having the wireless controllers integrated onto the wired network boards. Virtualization functionality combines the linked switches and APs with the service boards and ports, which turn the entire network into an easily managed, agile switch.

Using SDN, devices are coordinated to complete command translations, message synchronization, and policy distributions. Administrators use a unified Graphical User Interface (GUI) to configure and manage operating modes, service scenarios, and user access rights.

Agile Campus Transformation

As a world-leading product and solution provider, Huawei is actively contributing to ICT-based innovations for the education market around the globe. From Newcastle University in the U.K. to Southern Cross University in Australia, and dozens of campuses in between, Huawei’s precision wireless application control and high-density coverage technologies provide university students with high-quality connectivity anytime, anywhere. Huawei mobile campus networks are the foundation for the transformation in education to personalized, student-centric learning services.

By Zhou Mingfeng

Marketing Manager, Enterprise Network Marketing, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.