Customer Success Story
UT Arlington Sustains Student Success with Smart, Agile Juniper Network
University of Texas at Arlington, located in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth - the second largest institution in The University of Texas system - has been widely recognized as a best value in education by Forbes and others. When the COVID-19 pandemic first swept Texas, UTA quickly pivoted to e-learning and remote work. That agility was enabled by AI-driven Juniper networking from the classrooms and research labs to the data center and cloud apps.
Wi-Fi capacity with fast, reliable coverage indoors and outdoors
Campus-wide network resiliency and agility
Network operations with a self-healing network
Strategic partnership for AI-driven network solutions
“With our industry in a state of rapid transition, our goal is to future-proof our technology services to continue to provide a stable platform for education and enable innovation that allows our students, faculty, and administrators to excel,” says Jeff Neyland, CIO of UTA. “When COVID hit, we were able to rapidly adapt to the changing demands that it brought. It took us less than two weeks to move to e-learning and work from home so that we could continue to provide access to education and perform business tasks.
“Before the pandemic, almost 80% of our classes were face to face, and now 85% are online,” Neyland explains. “In this time of great uncertainty, we have the strategic relationships, technology, and capabilities to support our constituents remotely or in person, depending on their needs.”
UTA’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been on a multiyear journey to align business and IT, enhancing student interactions with UTA’s applications and digital services and streamlining administrative decision making through data. OIT has been consolidating its IT portfolio, moving to cloud, and reducing IT complexity. “Teaching, learning, and doing research digitally was a big shift for us as an institution,” says Jason Hardy, director of infrastructure and operations at UTA. “We were well-prepared because of the choices we’ve made.”
“Standardizing our network deployments with Juniper has allowed us to consolidate our portfolio and reduce management complexity while simultaneously providing integration with critical systems,” Hardy says.
The strategy for UTA has been to move to Software as a Service (SaaS)-based cloud services to support the use of modern applications and to support the 24x7 access needed for today’s students. The full portfolio of applications has undergone dramatic change with the learning management system, the institution website, and security tools as examples of cloud tools that have been deployed
OIT began its migration to Juniper networking in 2015, and most recently deployed Juniper’s EX Series Ethernet Switches and the Juniper Series of High Performance Access Points, powered by Mist AI, for its campus. The university relies on the high-performance, scalable MX960 Universal Routing Platform for its network core and edge, QFX5100 line of Switches for its 10GbE/40GbE data center network fabric, and the SRX5000 line of Services Gateways to protect the university’s network from cyber attack.
“With our previous wireless LAN, the experience of being mobile on campus was frustrating,” Hardy says. “With Juniper Mist, the overall experience of students, faculty, and staff has been transformed.”
“Automate everything” is one of the OIT team’s guiding tenets, and with a Juniper network, UTA can take advantage of AI-driven automation and actionable insights to automate the support experience. The AI-driven Marvis Virtual Network Assistant cloud service simplifies troubleshooting with selfdriving actions and network performance analysis with real-time answers. IT can engage with Marvis to streamline operations and boost user experiences. “Marvis sped up our time-to-value,” Hardy says.
UTA has been on a five-year journey to an all-Juniper network with outcomes proven year after year. The engineering and operational simplicity of a Juniper network empowers OIT to deliver IT service excellence in support of the university’s academic, research, and community goals.
“As the reliance on IT has increased, having Juniper as a partner has helped us get things done,” Hardy says.
The pandemic has forced universities around the world to rethink research and education, but at UTA, students, researchers, and faculty can continue to learn and lead, whether in synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrid modes. And with a flexible Juniper network, UTA is ready for whatever the future holds.
“Learning today is person-focused,” Neyland says. “The classroom is anywhere. Higher education is in a dramatic state of transition. We were very fortunate to have been prepared for this shift and are excited at the new opportunities it brings to improve access to education. Our world is changing.”
Published December 2020