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St Anne's College, one of the largest colleges within the University of Oxford, has upgraded its wireless network with equipment from Alcatel-Lucent, enabling the 550 students and staff at the college to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones on campus.

St Anne's previously provided wireless access using a mixture of Allied Telesis and D-link infrastructure, and ran two physically separate networks to serve staff and students. This meant doubling the wires and switches needed in some areas.

The upgrade includes the implementation of Alcatel-Lucent's OmniSwitch family of products, which provides the college with a flexible edge network and delivers enterprise-grade Wi-Fi through 802.11n wireless access points.

The new network covers a greater area and provides better security than the previous infrastructure. It also allows St Anne's to go to a single physical network and virtually separate it into staff, students and others using VLANs.

“The network automatically puts a guest on to the correct network, and is significantly faster, offering all of our users an enhanced experience,” said Ben West, deputy IT manager of St Anne's College.

“Since we first deployed Alcatel-Lucent enterprise technology, we have had to raise no support calls to our partner, Khipu Networks – the solution simply does what it needs to do.”

David Parker, vice president and general manager for the UK and Ireland for the Alcatel-Lucent enterprise business added that the upgrade is essential for St Anne’s College to provide a reliable and pervasive wireless service.

“With the BYOD phenomenon significantly driven by end-user demands, this is a great example of a higher education facility embracing this trend and moving forward with its IT to be able to support greater engagement among students and staff alike,” he said.

This is the second major higher education network infrastructure order in the UK to be announced by Alcatel-Lucent in the last six months, following the implementation of an extensive wireless LAN solution throughout the University of Portsmouth.