News Release

University of British Columbia Goes Wireless with Cisco Aironet Technology

Canada's Largest Wireless Campus Network to Connect 44,000 Students, Staff and Faculty
Jan 14, 2003

VANCOUVER, B.C.- January 14, 2003 - The University of British Columbia (UBC) is deploying a state-of-the-art wireless network to provide high-speed connectivity to 44,000 students, staff and faculty from virtually anywhere on its campus. Based on technology from Cisco Systems, Inc. and supplied by TELUS, the network will cover more than one million square metres and all 300 of the university's buildings, making it the largest wireless local area network (LAN) in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

"At UBC we're always looking for innovative ways to revolutionize the university experience. By providing truly ubiquitous connectivity, our wireless network will encourage the development of new and better ways to teach, learn and research," said Martha Piper, president of the University of British Columbia. "The ability to access our university network and take advantage of the Internet - no matter where you are and without the restrictions of a wired connection - is incredibly powerful. Already, the response from students, staff and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive."

UBC began deploying the wireless network in late summer 2002 and expects to complete the installation by September 2003. The network is based on Cisco Aironet 1100 and 1200 Series wireless technology. Once complete, the network will feature 1,200 wireless access points and will support data rates of up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps).

"By implementing one of the most ambitious and advanced wireless networks in North America, UBC is proving to be an innovator in technology and education," said Pierre-Paul Allard, president of Cisco Systems Canada. "Wireless technology is gaining widespread acceptance around the world because it provides tremendous value. By helping users to stay constantly connected, wireless networks are boosting efficiency, collaboration and co-operation."

The university's network is largely based on the Cisco Aironet 1200 Series, which simultaneously supports IEEE 802.11b (up to 11 Mbps, 2.4 GHz) and next-generation IEEE 802.11a (up to 54 Mbps, 5 GHz). UBC will take advantage of the higher speed connectivity that the IEEE 802.11a radio module and 5 GHz client adapter cards provide to power high-bandwidth educational and research applications including video streaming, advanced engineering applications and online collaboration in areas such as engineering labs. The remainder of the campus - including all classrooms, dormitories, administrative buildings and numerous green areas, such as courtyards and parks - will feature speeds of up to 11 Mbps (which is comparable to a standard corporate network). A number of high-density locations such as libraries and lecture halls will feature Cisco Aironet 1100 Series Access Points. This technology facilitates industry-leading through-put rates, allowing more students and staff to use the network without sacrificing the speed of connectivity.

The UBC wireless project is part of a larger University Networking Program, a $30 million initiative designed to upgrade connectivity at the university. It also compliments the UBC e-strategy program, a wide-reaching initiative to support work, learning and research using online technologies at UBC.

Building the network of the future, today

According to Ted Dodds, associate vice-president of information technology at UBC, deploying a wireless infrastructure allowed UBC to cost-effectively meet an operational requirement - upgrading the university's network infrastructure; while providing the added benefits of mobility to the university population.

"Many of our properties are older, historic buildings that are incredibly expensive to rewire. By using wireless technology we have been able to upgrade the connectivity on campus, while significantly reducing the costs of cabling," added Dodds.

UBC decided to use Cisco's next-generation wireless technology after an extensive six-month review process in early 2002. "After thoroughly examining all alternatives, we concluded Cisco's wireless technology provided the best combination of performance, future proofing and cost," said Dodds. "We were looking for a solution that delivered robust, reliable and secure wireless connectivity, while also providing the ability to migrate to higher performance wireless technologies. The Cisco Aironet solution provided the best of both worlds."

The Cisco Aironet 1200 Series is the flagship of the Aironet product line and is designed to provide maximum flexibility, performance and scalability. With its modular, field-upgradable dual radio design, the Cisco Aironet 1200 Series AP protects existing customer investment in Wi-Fi networks while delivering a seamless migration path to IEEE 802.11a and emerging technologies such as IEEE 802.11g.

The Cisco Aironet 1100 Series features a single, upgradable 802.11b radio and provides a secure, affordable, and easy-to-use Wi-Fi solution. Taking advantage of the Cisco Wireless Security Suite for the strongest enterprise security available and of Cisco IOS . Software for ease of use and familiarity, the Cisco Aironet 1100 Series AP delivers manageability, performance, investment protection and scalability in a cost-effective package with a low total cost of ownership.