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Tech U: Compressed Air

When I started college in the early 1990s, my network connection consisted of dial-up access to a serial terminal on the sole SCO Unix server, and the campus enjoyed a high-speed 56K dedicated circuit to the Internet. Fast-forward a decade or so: Big campuses have port-per-pillow network access, plus wireless overlays in public areas and classrooms. Most students own laptops, and they want their Wi-Fi.


Educational IT professionals worry primarily about capacity, while their enterprise colleagues

are concerned about coverage. In offices where wired ports are still the mainstay, wireless access may need to span boardrooms, guest offices and executive suites on different floors. But at universities, students congregate at libraries and large lecture halls. Rather than five laptops in a boardroom, think 40 students in study carrels using one AP. This is an early look at what business organizations will experience as their wireless trials and initial deployments morph into production networks, and they move toward wireless connections.

Tech University
We went back to school at universities nationwide and found cutting-edge networking, wireless, and security projects that businesses would do well to study.

• Introduction: Tomorrow's IT Challenges Today

• Network Infrastructure: Research on the Rails
• Wireless: Compressed Air
• Security: Taming the Masses
• Messaging & Collaboration: The World Is Our Campus
• Enterprise Apps: Sims on Steroids
• Storage & Servers: The Real Big Apple


Tossing another AP in the ceiling won't solve capacity problems. First, there's the challenge of channel selection. Fred Archibald of UC Berkeley's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science likens channel assignment to a Rubik's Cube--change it in one place, and the whole puzzle must be re-examined.

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