Illinois Wesleyan University pivots to AI-driven Juniper Mist Wi-Fi to support flexible learning

When the coronavirus pandemic moved students from in-person classes to dorm room Zoom sessions, Illinois Wesleyan’s aging wireless network struggled under the heavier performance demands. The university responded quickly, adding the Juniper® Series of High-Performance Access Points in every dorm room, all driven by Mist AI™.

Overview


Company Illinois Wesleyan University
Industry Education
Products used AP12AP43
Region Americas
Illinois Wesleyan University Image
Customer Success At-a-glance

6 weeks

to deploy 90% of Wi-Fi 6 network

 

2x

more devices connected

Student BYOD key to student retention and recruitment

 

Optimized learning experience from dorm rooms

 

Challenge

Aging Wi-Fi network falters under pandemic loads

Illinois Wesleyan, located in Bloomington, IL, is a top-tier national liberal arts college, known for small class sizes and excellent prospects after graduation. But its legacy Wi-Fi sagged under the sudden demands of remote learning, frustrating students and faculty during an already stressful year.

The IT team took quick action, and deployed 90% of its new campus network in only six weeks.

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Solution

AI-powered networking easily hits six-week deadline

More than 600 Juniper® Series of High-Performance Access Points were installed and connected to the Mist cloud, built on a modern microservices architecture that enables quick deployment, easy scalability, and streamlined operations. A high-performance Wi-Fi 6 access point is within 8 feet of every dorm resident. Juniper Networks® EX Series Ethernet Switches were deployed for high-performance access and aggregation switching on campus.

Juniper Access Points work in conjunction with the Juniper Mist™ cloud architecture and Mist AI™ to collect and analyze metadata in near real time from all wireless clients to deliver optimized user experiences. A Juniper Mist wireless and wired network also enables rapid problem detection and root cause identification with predictive recommendations.

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Outcome

BYOD and Wi-Fi performance earn highest marks from students

Students quickly noticed how easy it was to connect their phones, laptops, gaming devices, and smart TVs after a simple registration. Poor Wi-Fi no longer bubbles up as a student retention and recruitment issue.

Trouble tickets have fallen even as the number of connected devices doubled. An AI-driven Juniper Mist network simplifies troubleshooting and speeds problem remediation.

Illinois Wesleyan is exploring innovative network services, such as COVID-19 tracking and wayfinding, and plans to expand Wi-Fi outdoors to athletic facilities. The university has just scratched the surface of what it can do to support students, faculty, and the school’s mission for educational excellence.

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"The fact that we deployed 600 access points and stacked switches in only six weeks is astounding. Students and faculty came back from Thanksgiving break and had no problems connecting their mobile devices. Looking ahead, we are on the leading edge of Wi-Fi 6, which we’re sure to see more of in the coming months."
Michael Zehr Director of Network and Infrastructure Services, Illinois Wesleyan University

Published April 2021