Royal College of Music trumpets wireless deployment

By Dave Bailey
06 Apr 2009 View Comments
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Conductor and orchestra
Royal College of Music hits right note with wireless LAN rollout

The Royal College of Music (RCM) has deployed a wireless LAN network to service 600 students and 300 staff at its main building opposite the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington.

The rollout includes all practice rooms, theatres and halls of residence, and mixes 802.11n and 802.11g access points from Wi-Fi provider Ruckus Wireless.

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RCM had to provide wireless connectivity for the college’s main six-storey building and a four-storey hall of residence. Ruckus was chosen after a competitive run- off with WLAN vendors such as Aruba Networks and network giant Cisco.

RCM’s network manager Kevin Ward said that RCM’s existing wireless network was becoming a nightmare to manage.

"We had no idea who was using the wireless system, how to isolate problems and the best way to optimise for coverage and performance,” he said.

Since RCM is based in a historic site built out of thick brick and concrete material, its previous wireless LAN had difficulty penetrating the building. The limited coverage and flaky connectivity, added to an increase in the number of wireless-enabled laptops and handheld devices, also made it imperative to have reliable wireless coverage.

Ward said the new equipment was uniquely able to automate many of RCM’s problems.

“It was the only system that combined high-gain directional antenna systems, wireless meshing and centralised management - consequently, the decision effectively made itself,” he said.

Wireless meshing enables access points to transfer data between each other directly and not use wired infrastructure cabling. This also meant that RCM found it easy to add further wireless access points as needed, since they did not need to put in extra structured Category 5 (Cat-5) network cabling.

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