Brandeis University, located in Waltham, Massachusetts, covers 235 acres and is comprised of more than 100 buildings. It has an enrollment of over 3,500 students with each bringing an average of 3.4 wireless devices to school, so Brandeis embarked on a three year project to install wireless connectivity throughout the campus. Brandeis chose Aruba wireless access points and worked with several vendors to determine coverage needs and a phased installation plan based on priority areas. Connectivity Point was chosen as the installation contractor and was responsible for the cabling and installation of the wireless access points.
Year 1 addressed buildings with the heaviest use: dormitories and academic buildings. Installation challenges included: old and historic buildings; stone, brick, block and similar construction requiring surface mounted conduit; vaulted ceilings, crowded ceiling spaces, and non-existent cable pathways. Connectivity Point technicians are experienced professionals and were able to overcome the challenges of the project and successfully deployed the wireless access points as designed. More than 900 access points were installed.
Year 2 added another round of 35 buildings. Although it was smaller in scale, the installation of 870 access points was just as challenging. Brandeis was confident in Connectivity Point’s ability to successfully complete the installation based on our performance the previous year and our ability to apply our experience and lessons learned.
In year 3, Brandeis funded the final stage of the project and tackled some of the hardest areas, as well as filled in gaps that had been identified in coverage. To accomplish this phase, Connectivity Point re-utilized existing legacy voice cabling (Category 5e) and re-routed it as needed for the additional wireless access points. It is worth noting that many of these buildings were cabled years ago; however Brandeis’s policy of cabling with the most current standard of cable (Category 5E at the time) paid off and enabled the existing cables to be utilized for the wireless access points. More than 1,050 access points were installed within 52 buildings during this phase.
Attention to detail, flexibility, creativity and a can-do attitude characterized the Connectivity Point installation team. Large projects, such as this, require close coordination with the owner, and Brandeis IT Facilities staff worked closely with Connectivity Point’s project manager to see the project through to completion.
Senior project management at Brandeis summed it up in an email upon completion of the project: “Thanks to all of you and your crews for making this a HUGE success!!”