Customer Success Story
University of Louisiana at Monroe Appeals to the Digital Generation
Today’s college students grew up in a digital world and expect always-on connectivity and engaging, collaborative learning. The University of Louisiana at Monroe refreshed its campus network to meet the realities of a mobile, cloud, and IoT world.
On student and faculty expectations for great connectivity
The network to meet the throughput and power demands of high-density mobile and IoT environment
A digital learning environment for today’s connected, collaborative students
“As an institution, you’re only as good as your network,” says Tom Hoover, CIO at University of Louisiana at Monroe. “Our network is critical to everything we do on campus, academically and administratively.”
“Student expectations are extremely high,” says Chance Eppinette, director of IT at University of Louisiana at Monroe. “The student mindset is that they don’t know why the network wouldn’t work.”
Today’s college students were raised in a digital world where social interaction is commonly digital. They’ve had smart phones for years, and expect always-on connectivity and engaging, collaborative learning.
Hoover has been working in IT in higher education for nearly two decades and has witnessed the digital transformation of learning. “Most of our incoming students don’t know a different world,” Hoover says. “They use their laptops or tablets to take notes, not pen and paper.”
Students’ technology habits are driving change across higher education. As Hoover explains, “Meeting those expectations is why we always have to improve our network. We can’t wait five to seven years for a refresh anymore. We have to improve the network every two or three years.”
The university uses the Juniper’s EX4300 Ethernet Switch for the edge network. A high-performance edge switch designed for Power over Ethernet Plus Plus (PoE++) and Media Access Control Security (MACsec), the multigigabit EX4300 Ethernet Switch is ideal for supporting high-density IP telephony, surveillance cameras, and wireless access points, which require multigigabit speeds and greater power connectivity. “We’re putting one in every telecom closet,” says Eppinette.
“Without a solid infrastructure, we wouldn’t be able to provide any services off campus,” Hoover says. “The network is crucial to how we operate.”
The pharmacy campus, a few miles from the main campus, is being connected to the university’s fiber network. Pharmacy students do their clinical rotations in Baton Rouge and Shreveport, and the university has joined with the Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI) to provide high-speed connectivity with Juniper equipment.
ULM uses Juniper’s QFX5100 Switch, a highdensity, high-performance platform for fiber concentration. Designed for high availability data center operations, the QFX5100 switch is configured in a redundant Virtual Chassis Fabric. ULM also uses Juniper’s SRX Series Services Gateways for edge routing, remote campus, and Internet connectivity. SRX Series firewalls deliver high-performance security on a scalable and resilient platform, while LONI provides Internet2 connectivity and access to high-performance computing and other universities in Louisiana and beyond.
“Our Juniper network provides resources for each and every one of our students so they can get the best education possible,” says Eppinette.
Technology is a competitive differentiator for today’s digital generation. As Hoover explains, “Universities are competing for students, and we know students make decisions based on factors like technology. Our Juniper network delivers a competitive advantage.”
With a Juniper network, the university is well-positioned to accommodate future growth in users, devices, applications—and the campus itself. The new core will easily accommodate the needs of a planned residential hall as well.
Published June 2019