Deputy Director, Lovely Professional University (LPU)
Aman Mittal, Deputy Director, Lovely Professional University (LPU), in conversation with Pragya Gupta, shares his insights on importance of Wireless Campus
Please share your views on the use of digital teaching technologies in education?
The infusion of digital teaching technologies is revolutionising systems of education everywhere in the world. We now have access to advanced tools of imparting quality education. Use of digital teaching technologies in India is of utmost importance, as we need to accelerate the process through which we can build up the human resource base. Digital technologies should not be identified only with higher education; but there is a greater need to infuse them in primary and middle education as well.
Do you see any improvements in teaching-learning process after having the wireless campus?
A wireless campus goes a long way in creating a culture of free sharing of information. The giant strides India has made in professional education in the last decade can be attributed to the access of information to the students via Internet. With the progression of time, a larger student base has got access to Internet, and this augurs well for Indian education as a whole. So, the role of WiFi cannot be underestimated. Some of the key advantages of having a WiFi campus include multi-user log in facility, getting rid from the maze of wired networks, better connectivity and higher signal strength, lesser frequency of service disruption, ease to use, cheaper deployment of (LANs), enhanced security, etc.
Tell us about the WiFi network at your campus.
In hardware, we have deployed equipments of Cisco and Ruckus and have configured it with Juniper. We are using software like LDAP and Active Directory. The maximum speed of our WiFi network is of the tune of 64 -100 mbps. We have 1000 WiFi points in our campus, to which nearly 40,000 students can log in at a given point of time.
Our prime concern is to provide seamless, uninterrupted, high quality Internet connectivity to all the students, faculty members and other staff. And with an army of more than 30,000 Internet users in the campus, this is a daunting task. The security of the network is also an issue that needs our attention. Further expansion in network and the prospects of switching on to a higher technology in future is also being contemplated.
Please share key challenges in the adoption of WiFi on campus?
A multitude of challenges are faced in the use and adoption of WiFi on campus. The major one is the integration of a new solution with the existing set up, which sometimes acquires tedious propositions. Distributing the spread of the network on a uniform basis across a large area is yet another big challenge. Sometimes, the layout of certain buildings is such that it retards the penetration of the signal in its interior, which again poses serious troubles. Then, when the coverage area is vast and access points are in large number, it becomes difficult to address a problem arising at distant location remotely from the control centre. Training of users is another challenge inherent in setting up a WiFi campus.
Companies should go in for an extensive survey before laying down the network. The survey will help in identifying the weak links in advance, which can be addressed in a timely manner. Secondly, there should be a Fibre Backbone at the back end to ensure that the services are not hampered when new applications are integrated, or the usage surges. Finally, in a bid to cut costs, the companies should not compromise on aspects that ultimately lead to setting up of a weak network.
Do you have plans to acquire more devices for wireless?
Yes, we will certainly be upgrading our existing system on a continuous basis – in sync with the emergence of new technologies. We are open to make new investments in technology as long as it benefits our students.//