Customer Success Story: Saint Mary’s College of California
Located in beautiful northern California, Saint Mary's College of California was established in 1863. While the campus is set in stunning surroundings, connectivity was a challenge. Even electricity is at risk if the power lines within the canyon fail.
Saint Mary's College needs highly available Wi-Fi around the clock. It’s currently upgrading its network from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6. The college relies on a secure connection on their campus, at their conference center events, and outreach programs in the community.
The college runs a corporate network for staff and faculty and provides housing for students living on campus. Over 3,000 students expect super-fast broadband on all of their devices, both at school and in their resident halls. It also needs to balance giving users a secure browsing experience with the academic freedom to access a wide range of content.
Many of the school’s buildings are mixed use, with academic floors in the basement and dorm rooms or classrooms upstairs—all with different network requirements.
“It’s not easy to provide great Wi-Fi in buildings that are nearly 100 years old, especially when students are expecting Wi-Fi 6,” Jim M., Network Systems Manager commented.
The college deployed Cisco Meraki access points throughout its halls of residence and service desk calls related to Wi-Fi and Ethernet dropped dramatically.
New access points have been deployed in the campus library, gym, and convention center, giving visitors and members of the college community significantly higher bandwidth and greater stability. The plug-and-play setup makes the access points incredibly fast and easy to deploy. Ease of use also means the college can enlist extra help to install units with minimal training.
Walled garden environments, which control access to network-based content and services during public events, can be set up in just a few clicks to protect sensitive data while ensuring guests still enjoy fast Wi-Fi.
As for maintenance, the Meraki dashboard allows updates and fixes to be scheduled to coincide with student vacations to cause the least disruption. "The Meraki dashboard makes managing the network so simple, I can quickly respond to issues even while I am off campus," says Jim.
Since deploying Meraki access points, Saint Mary’s College has the stable network it needs to support research and learning, and even accelerate community outreach. Resource-intensive applications used for video conferencing and live streaming are also running smoothly, even during peak times.
The cloud-based Meraki dashboard makes it a breeze to manage and maintain the network, which means the college doesn’t need a separate support contract―although Meraki support is always available when needed.
Going forward, the college is installing even more Meraki access points to some of the more high-density spaces. An additional 200 Meraki switches are to be deployed in its halls of residence. Students are also looking forward to better connectivity in the library, especially during the busy finals period.