Big WLAN on Campus

Granted, most colleges across this great land of ours have been on the ‘bleeding edge’ of the Wi-Fi world. But how well can this work with old desktops and laptops that have to somehow call this same network home as well?

Colleges are the bleeding edge of WLAN technology: I wrote this piece for Mobile Pipeline (my first for them) which started out as a more general best practices article for giant WLANs, and morphed into an article about college WLANs. Why? As I explain in the story, giant WLAN enterprises donít want to talk on or off the record about what theyíre doing. Academic institutions are happy to oblige.

Schools also have the disadvantage of having to support many, many generations of equipment and operating systems. You canít tell a professor to take a flying leap, and some schools may still have five-year-old laptops and desktops that still have to be integrated.

Itís clear that 802.1X is the next big trend for both schools and enterprises. It solves many problems while adding tremendous policy flexibility. Using 802.1X and L2TP means that you can have smaller VLANs that are segregated by policy, group, or even randomly to balance users among VLANs.