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Southeast Asia's largest education wireless network at NUS

F.Y. Teng | April 26, 2013
Singapore's premier university has 3,200 WAPs across two major campuses.

Early April saw the announcement by Singapore's largest IT services provider NCS that the National University of Singapore (NUS) had rolled out Southeast Asia's largest ever wireless network for education. NUS, the country's premier university, had earlier secured the partnership of NCS and networking equipment vendor Cisco to build an "enhanced, highly secure and resilient wireless infrastructure" that is integrated with its "existing network to provide centralised management" and wireless connectivity on its two main campuses.

By April 4, 2013, they had already deployed 3,200 wireless access points (WAPs) across NUS' Kent Ridge and Bukit Timah campuses, in western and central Singapore, respectively. (The Kent Ridge campus is approximately 1.5 sq km in size.) All in all, they provided "pervasive wireless coverage for [NUS] students, staff and visitors," said the parties in a statement to the press on the day of the announcement.

Main enhancements to NUS' integrated wireline and wireless network include the incorporation of "intelligent wireless routing technology to ensure maximum network availability and optimised network performance, including in outdoor areas," they said. "The access points, operating in wireless mesh modes, will dynamically learn the best way to route traffic in these situations."

The latest round of infrastructural upgrades were essential to NUS' "integrated approach" to providing this "pervasive wireless coverage," they went on to say. "[And this integrated approach also] includes the provision of free Wi-Fi on campus shuttle buses, participation in eduroam (Education Roaming) for Wi-Fi roaming with overseas institutions and extended coverage of the Wireless@SG network for campus visitors."

"Mobile wireless access points and 3G routers have been installed in 19 shuttle buses that traverse the campus grounds, providing intranet and Internet access on any device," they said, before moving on to the eminent convenience and usefulness of eduroam participation.

The eduroam global roaming service offers authorised users authenticated Web access via the facilities of institutes of higher learning, research centres and libraries in more than 50 economies across the world, with the use of a single Wi-Fi profile and set of credentials. As such, "when visiting overseas institutions, NUS students and staff can use their NUSNET account to access the Wi-Fi network of a university-for example, Duke, Harvard, Yale, Kings College London, and Cambridge University.

The newly enhanced connectivity infrastructure on NUS' campuses also offers all authorised users easy, fast and secure connection of their "laptops, smartphones, printers, cameras, interactive whiteboards and other devices, making campus resources more widely and improving collaboration among students, faculty, administrators and visitors such as guest lecturers."

 

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