News Release

New Duke Residence Hall Showcases Innovations In Communications Technology

DURHAM, N.C. August 31, 2005 - Starting this month,
Aug 31, 2005

DURHAM, N.C. August 31, 2005 - Starting this month, first-year students living in Duke University's newest residence hall will be able to access course content, news stories, e-mail, video entertainment and other forms of communications in an entirely new way.

The university is teaming with Cisco Systems to give students in the new Bell Tower residence hall on East Campus free wireless access so they can watch one of four cable TV channels -- including CNN and MTV-U -- anywhere in the building, as well as access the Internet, email and other applications from their laptops.

Duke developed Bell Tower's Internet technology in anticipation of an expected universal shift in the communications industry over the next few years from wired to wireless voice, data and video delivery, said Kevin Miller, network architect with Duke's Network Technologies group. The residence hall will utilize Cisco wireless controllers, access points and software.

"What we're envisioning now is developing a set of services that students, faculty and staff are asking for and that we can deliver efficiently," Miller said. "Bell Tower will serve as a blueprint for how to develop an infrastructure at Duke to support growth in emerging digital data, audio and video applications in new and existing buildings on campus."

The wireless system in Bell Tower will transmit at more than five times the speed of a typical 10Mb-per-second wired network connection. Its design provided Duke and Cisco -- which was instrumental in the physical design of the wireless network -- with engineering challenges in order to provide one wireless access point for every two student rooms. All of Duke's other residence halls have wireless coverage only in common areas such as student lounges.

The Bell Tower pilot is part of the university's goal to provide a wireless network across campus to support individual mobile computing needs and the Duke Digital Initiative, the successor to the 2004-05 Duke iPod First-Year experience.

"Today's new students have grown up in an all-digital world where mobility and multi-tasking are a routine and expected part of life," said Tracy Futhey, Duke's vice president for information technology. "Our goal is to provide both the infrastructure and the support to our faculty and students that make it possible to use technology in innovative ways throughout all aspects of life at Duke."

Added Alan Cohen, senior director of marketing for Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit, "Cisco and Duke are now giving the class of 2009 a wireless 'triple-play' -- voice, video and data -- helping them to integrate mobility both into their education and lifestyle."

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