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Networking Education IT

College to Deploy First 802.11n Network 90

Matt writes "Morrisville State College, a New York State school in central New York, is partnering with Meru Networks and IBM to deploy the first 802.11n wireless network. They will be using around 900 access points and are planning to go live this fall."
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College to Deploy First 802.11n Network

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  • hello (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    900 access points. That's a lot.

    Anyway, first post. Yo.
    The second poster is gay btw.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Oh the irony...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This post is so hilariously ironic...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nrgy ( 835451 )
      Well I would say he is coming out of the closet but unfortunately he posted anonymously.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What a pity this mod doesn't have a good sense of humour .. :(
  • 54mbps? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd ( 1050150 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @04:41AM (#19605855) Homepage
    54mbps isn't fast enough? I mean its not like your going to be accessing the internet with anything close to that. So the only benefit is better lan performance. Not to mention the standard isnt even official and subject to change and incompatibilities with future standard based equipment and this sounds like a waste of money.
    • Re:54mbps? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Friday June 22, 2007 @04:53AM (#19605905) Journal
      54mbps isn't fast enough?

      Shared between whoever's within range of a particular access point in a school, 54Mb/s doesn't seem all that much.
      • by arivanov ( 12034 )
        Agree. But in this case the number of clients supported and optimisation is likely to be a much bigger problem. I have seen quite a few disastrous WiFi deployments in areas which have high client density. Throwing more bandwidth at it will not do anything to solve this class of problems. For these you need better (smarter) infrastructure with more APs and a wireless switch behind them to tweak the power settings and nudge clients between APs by making them think that the power on a neigbouring AP is better.
        • What do you use to adjust the signal strengths on the fly like that?
          Just curious since I'd never heard of doing that before.
        • Aren't there longer-range technologies that could allow them to install fewer than 900 access points? That sounds like a lot of work.
          • Did you even bother to read the post you are replying to?

            For these you need better (smarter) infrastructure with more APs
            It's not a matter of range, but rather, the number of users on each AP.
          • by kobaz ( 107760 )
            I went to SUNY Morrisville from 01-03 (see = 19607305 [])

            They most definitely did not do a good job in deploying the first gen wireless 802.11a wireless network that they had. They did a deployment of wireless for all dorms instead of running cat5. Exactly why is beyond me. Cat5 would have been a heck of a lot cheaper since now they are replacing the entire wireless system.

            Each dorm was four floors, two wings (one male one female). Two access points per
      • I do, my god it was slow. being older, and therefore obviously old fashioned, these high speeds still amaze me. Not that I wasn't impressed by 33k, the very fact that I could connect to another machine over the phone at all rocked.

        Paradoxically though, while I am still in awe of such high speeds, I also whine when my 10mbit interwebs connection is taking too long to transfer the multi gigabyte result sets I have to chuck about between machines.
        • Re:remember 33k? (Score:4, Informative)

          by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Friday June 22, 2007 @06:48AM (#19606303)
          The key point is the difference between bits and bytes. A 10Mbps connection is a 1.25MB/s connection.
          1.25 megabytes. Remember that a generic S-ATA or IDE hard disk writes at about 5-6MB/s and that can be a big bottlencek most of the time. So the 54Mbps connection you speak of is a total speed of ~7MB/s. That's not the internet speed. That's the LAN connection. So one person tries to send a large file to another on the network and all of a sudden we've hit that bottleneck and no one can even check their email.
          Although some of these numbers sound impressive realistically for daily LAN usage they are just about usable.
          • How fragmented are your harddisks that they're only pushing 7MB/s ???

            a good modern disk should perform linear reads/writes at around the 55-60MB/s mark.
            • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward
              haha, you use windows
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by ajs318 ( 655362 )
            You can't compare bit rates of telephone and ethernet connections directly. It takes 10 bits to transmit 1 byte over the telephone because each byte has a start bit and a stop bit, which is an overhead of 25%. Over the network, everything is transmitted in 1500-byte packets with a 14-byte header and 4-byte footer; so the overhead per byte is much less at 1.2%.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by DaleGlass ( 1068434 )
              You're mixing up your layers there.

              The modem's encoding a byte with 10 bits would be at layer 1.
              Over that, you'd have Ethernet, with its own overhead (the 14+4 bytes you mentioned), PPP, etc, at layer 2.
              Over that, you have IP, with a 20 byte header, layer 3
              And over that, you have TCP, with a 32 byte header, layer 4.

              Not to mention that those 1500 byte packets are only 1500 bytes when transferring large amounts of data. Something with small packets like SSH gets more overhead.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mollymoo ( 202721 )

            Remember that a generic S-ATA or IDE hard disk writes at about 5-6MB/s and that can be a big bottlencek most of the time.

            Nope, hard disk speeds are quoted in MB/sec, not Mbps. You're a factor of 8 out - 40-50MB/sec is more like it (and modern desktop drives are a bit faster than that).

            So the 54Mbps connection you speak of is a total speed of ~7MB/s. That's not the internet speed. That's the LAN connection. So one person tries to send a large file to another on the network and all of a sudden we've hit

    • It's 54 or 100+ mbps on paper. When I was using wifi (before I insisted on running cat5), it was just me and the base station seperated by 15 feet and one light wall. My actual connection speed (based on large file transfer to a server box, no other activity) was roughly 10 to 12 mbps, one fifth the claimed rate. So if they're supposed to get 100+mbps, I'd guess it'll actually do 20+mbps.
      • by wetlettuce ( 765604 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @07:28AM (#19606465) Homepage
        The 54Mbps refers to the signalling rate of the transmitter not the data rate that is acheiveable - bascially a maketing tools like MB MiB in hard drives.
        The actual transfer rate is reduced from the optimum by the packetising of the data, obtaining the wireless spectrum before transmission and that an inter-packet gap is inserted between every transmitted packet to allow other AP users to transmit data.
        • by anethema ( 99553 )
          This is somewhat true, but given a single user and a fairly noise free environement you can obtain like 75% of these speeds.

          You must also remember too 802.11 is a half duplex protocol, so this further reduces practical (real world) speeds.
      • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @10:29AM (#19608033) Homepage Journal
        Because of the overhead, a single 54Mbps wireless connection, if on .11a or .11g only, can get as high as about 30Mbps. If there's a .11b device in range and a .11g AP is set for compatibility mode, it can knock the rate down to 10-15Mbps.

        Under .11n, the theoretical rate actually maxes out at about 250Mbps. Factoring in the overhead, this allows, without compatibility mode, perhaps 150Mbps. However, the presence of any pre-.11n device knocks the channel width down to 20MHz from 40MHz, and then compatibility mode with .11a/b/g can knock it down even lower. Chances are that the actual bitrate with a relatively clean signal will be ~125Mbps, and the actual throughput will be somewhere around 70-75Mbps.

        One thing to keep in mind in all of this is that in many cases, the uplink on a switch to the rest of the network is only 100Mbps, so the final throughput from what people are used to isn't going to decrease all that much. Factor in several APs with a balanced channel setup with a gigabit uplink, and the experience shouldn't be all that different from what the wired people are experiencing.
    • To function effectively. Depending on how many you can get on an access point it can work out cheaper. And compare with the cost of rolling out cat5 or fiber everywhere. Then there's the stuff you just can't do any other way. The big benefit of ubiquitous high bandwidth wifi though is that you can start to use it for all sorts of clever stuff.

      e.g. Imagine taking one of those electronic paper book things out to the football field and showing the players a video of a play, with animated diagrams.

      Then the engi
    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      waste of money ? Well now it works there. They could wait 5 years for the standards to become stable and widespread, but that would make 5 promotions of student not benefiting from this. I see a rationale behind the notion that students should have access to bleeding edge technology, I see this as a reasonnable spending by this university.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      54mbps isn't fast enough?
      You don't really get 54mbps with 802.11a or 802.11g, the most you'll realistically get is 20mbps give or take a few mb. Then that gets even worse if you've got bad reception or a lot of people using the AP at the same time. So while that's not terrible for most things, it'd be a royal pain for transferring large files -- a few gigs will start to take over an hour and that sucks, I've been there, backing up a 30GB hard drive over 10 Base T.
      • You don't really get 54mbps with 802.11a or 802.11g, the most you'll realistically get is 20mbps give or take a few mb.

        So. What. The point of the parent is this: I have fast internet at home, at (claimed) 8mbps. That is the bottleneck, not the wi-fi from the wall to the pc at 20+ mbps. Increasing the wi-fi speed will make no difference at all to the speed that I can download stuff.
        • I don't understand why some of you people focus only on the Internet. Sure, the bottleneck is the Internet if that's all you care about. No one is denying that. There are other factors to consider, such as AP contention and range. Fast student access to on-campus services has to be useful too.
    • Your forgetting the extra range.

      When your dealing with a school you need good range.
      • I agree. 802.11n is not just about increased speed, it also brings a vast improvement in range.
        Last year I bought Belkin's 802.11preN AP and PC card and did some tests of my own. With the AP in my house I was able to get usable signal up to 400 ft away with clear LoS (to my house) and about 100 ft away through the neighbors houses.
    • 54mbps isn't fast enough? I mean its not like your going to be accessing the internet with anything close to that.

      For a university? My university has a 10GB/s connection[1] to the outside world. I can often get 3-4MB/s transfers with the GigE connection that goes to my desk. Over 801.11g, I can't get more than about 1.5MB/s in real world usage. Note also that bandwidth on a WiFi network is shared, so this 1.5MB/s only happens when no one else is using it, while the wired network is switched and so the contention is spread over the campus.

      [1] Well, it did a couple of years ago, last time I checked. They might ha

    • I run a large campus network and we just upgraded to a 100mbps connection (ethernet handoff) and during the summer when traffic is low the bandwidth being used is only maybe 3-9mbps, so it would be usable. However with such a large network packet shaping and other checks and balances would not allow a single user to hit the internet at those speeds. It would be nice though, port to port connections are blazing fast here.

      802.11n is not a finished product, in a smaller uni like this one it might be OK but whe
      • With the added range of n, I would think that you could more easily get 100% outdoor coverage. It looks to me that n support is stabilized enough such that there won't be significant changes to it that investing in currently existing hardware is a significant risk.
    • by cafucu ( 918264 )
      It's not all about speed. One huge advantage to 11N is the use of multipath. Signal that is considered noise in 11A/BG is used as an additional path in 11N. As mentioned in other posts, it's also about capacity. 11A/BG works great in your apartment where there is one host in the collision domain. Try covering a classroom or showfloor with hundreds of clients. Multipath + more bandwidth = better service.
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @04:45AM (#19605879) Homepage
    And they go straight to the next bleeding edge : 248 mbit.

    They have nearly filled the alphabet btw. Only 802.11z is still free as a name. Can you name them all ? Amendments []
  • Whoa (Score:2, Funny)

    by xhydra ( 1083949 )
    Charlie Bravo 1537.......... Calling on all wardrivers to Morrisville Over and out * static*
  • **AA (Score:5, Funny)

    by FredDC ( 1048502 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @04:53AM (#19605907)
    The **AA have already sent notices to reveal the people who are going to accessing one or more of the 900 access points. They're gonna sue every single one of them for possible future copyright violations.
  • Isn't this "First College to Deploy 802.11n Network" instead?

    I know it's early but c'mon.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly. I've had one here since February. Apple has sold 100s of thousands of Airports with 802.11n and others have sold a ton more too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Runefox ( 905204 )
        No, you don't, and neither does anyone else. You have Draft-N (possibly Draft 2.0), which is different. The official N specification hasn't been released yet, and isn't expected to be standardized/finalized until around September of 2008 (see orange-highlighted column). It's entirely feasible that existing Draft-N products are N-compatible once the spec is final (and many advertise to this effect), but I wouldn't bank on that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ToTheBone ( 167489 )
      Ehm... no.... that should be "First College to Deploy DRAFT 802.11n Network"

      802.11n hasn't been ratified yet, there's no such thing as an 802.11n network at the moment.
      Currently expected in september 2008 11_Timelines.htm []

      It will be a while before someone rolls out the first 802.11n network.

  • by ezratrumpet ( 937206 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @05:53AM (#19606137) Journal
    I got the feeling from the article that this is the result of several properly aligning factors.

    1. The school likes being known as a 'tech pioneer.'
    2. The product needed a landmark event from an understanding, capable customer;
    3. The price _must_ have been perfect;
    4. The school was really ready for an upgrade and the timing was exactly right to make 802.11g obsolete upon order.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I grew up in Morrisville, NY. It's a 2000 people, 5000 cow town who's population doubles when college is in session.

      SUNY Morrisville did have one of the first wireless campuses in the state. They also gave out free (although horribly admin-locked) laptops to students. I think that their small size may help them in adopting the latest technologies. Plus they do try to shake the image they have of being an equestrian college in a farm town.

      I never went to SUNY Morrisville myself, but had a couple friends from
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by vtechpilot ( 468543 )

        They also gave out free (although horribly admin-locked) laptops to students.

        No, Not free. There was a $600 a semester line item on my bill over 4 semesters. Students are buying a laptop for $2400. Oh, and if you drop out after the third semester, you had to pay the last $600 or give it back. The school doesn't pay anything for the laptops. The cost goes right to the tuition.

        On the otherhand, in fall 2002 when I was issued my Thinkpad T-30, there was no more powerful laptop on the market, and $2400 was slig

      • by sglow ( 465483 )

        I grew up in Morrisville, NY.
        Hey, me too. What are the odds?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kobaz ( 107760 )

        They also gave out free (although horribly admin-locked) laptops to students.

        I don't know about you guys, but i had mine unlocked after the first week after I asked a buddy at the helpdesk for the bios password. I had linux up and going even before I had the bios password. Those things weren't as locked down as they appeared to be.

        Since I lacked pci wireless cards I used my now linux lappy as a router for the rest of the computers in my room. That worked out quite well. And if you really needed to get into the bios, you used the control panel irq config to set all the irq's on

  • Johnny, aged 17 noted 'everytime I go to collage I get a funny tingling in my brain like I'm being slowly microwaved to death.' Students have also been complaining about a blue glowing around anything electrical and a curious crackling noise in the background.
  • A little background on SUNY Morrisville. I went there with New York Boy's State back in 2002. I never attended the school as a student so these are my impressions from staying there for a week. Morrisville is small, technical and farming college located in a really rural part central New York state. I believe that it was a 2-year college five years ago, but may now have a 4-year program. It is largely a farming college and boasts an award-winning dairy farm on campus. Ford also built an auto repair facilit
    • by Bucko ( 15043 )
      Brings back memories, Basic. I was there in Morrisville for Boys State in 1971. Had a great time, too.
      Someone above noted that the school has prided themselves on being near the cutting edge, technologically speaking. They're right.
      One of the memories that I have was of the technology they chose to "broadcast" the school radio station around the campus. You wouldn't hear it at all unless you wrapped an electric chord (say, from a lamp) around your radio. Very unusual. Effective, but unusual.
    • by mackid ( 912333 )
      As an alumnus of Morrisville State College (A.S. CS '07), I'd like to get some things straight. First of all, all you saying "54Mbps isn't enough?", well, it may be, but that is NOT what they are upgrading from. Morrisville State College is upgrading from an *extremely* old version of 802.11, known as 802.11 legacy ( []). This has a maximum speed on campus of 1.5Mbps, as capped by their Raylink wireless PCMCIA cards, which, unfortunately, lack OS X drivers (bu
  • Meru just works (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hoyty ( 35485 )
    After supporting 8 years of various 802.11? implementations we got Meru's abg solution last year. It works differently than any other switching solution out there by having all AP's on same channel and look like one giant AP. The clients are totally out of the picture as to which AP they are talking to. It is the first solution that has just worked for us. Highly recommended.
    • How much has Meru been paying people to say this stuff publicly? My usual conversation with network admins
      who have deployed Meru goes something like this:

      Them: I love Meru
      Me: So it's working really well?
      Them: Well, no, we have a lot of problems.
      Me: So...
      Them: Yeah, but I really love Meru. Highly recommend it.

      I see this stuff on the Educause mailing lists all the time. It confuses me.
  • by superid ( 46543 )
    Has anyone seen N cards hanging G access points?

    I know this isn't ask slashdot or tech support but it's at least related to the subject. I have a new Macbook Pro with N wireless. Our local town has a small wireless LAN used for emergency services. In our last drill I brought my mbp with me but every time I fired up my wireless I would hang the Linksys WRT54G access point. I'm going to try and get them to flash their AP with newer Linksys firmware but they are reluctant to do this.

    • by nologin ( 256407 )
      I have the opposite situation. I have a Linksys 802.11n router and usually I hookup two laptops to it. When the router has the 802.11n mode enabled (in mixed mode so people should still able to connect with 802.11b and 802.11g), the one laptop that has a Linksys 802.11g PC Card usually will drop to the lowest speed possible (1-2 Mbit/s) while the laptop with the builtin 802.11n card chugs along nicely. As soon as I disable 802.11n on the router, the 802.11g card works at full speed again.

      Now, I really haven
    • by dch24 ( 904899 )
      Yep, I see it too. I have a Macbook Pro with Airport Extreme (in other words, 802.11n). I've tested several Linksys 802.11g APs and they crash/reboot typically every 10 minutes, sooner if I have many TCP connections doing simultaneous downloads. I haven't tested it thoroughly, but it's annoying.
  • by sagei ( 131421 ) <rlove.rlove@org> on Friday June 22, 2007 @07:44AM (#19606545) Homepage

    The first 802.11n network?

    I have one in my house.

    • Oh man, you totally beat me to it. What a stupid, misleading slashdot lead-in. Yeah yeah, I know....I should RTFA, but still...the summary should mention more details than simply "the first 802.11n network", since evidently I had the 2nd (only after sagei)
  • About Freaking Time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vtechpilot ( 468543 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @07:46AM (#19606557)
    Some of the other commenters have mentioned that the school likes to be bleeding edge and its true. I went there for a two year stint from fall of 02 to spring of 04. They hit a lot of firsts. First school with a mandatory laptop program (you could not enroll in a CIS major without buying or providing a laptop.) First school with campus wide wireless. Yes you could get a signal on any part of school property (Even out in the equestrian program's barns.) The only trouble with the original wireless networks is that because they adopted so early, the existing network was 802.11a. As many of you may know, its getting harder and harder to find and support 802.11a hardware.

    Additionally they removed all the copper Ethernet from the dorms so using the Internet from the dorms was horrible. There really was not enough bandwidth to go around, and lots of concrete and metal furniture didn't help either. This was also at the time when p2p was really taking off and the network had never been built to expect that kind of traffic. To further mess things up, they removed all the pots telephone lines from the dorms and issued every student a cell phone. They got into a deal with Nextel that put a tower on campus, and created their own mini-cell network. Seemed like a good idea until everyone discovered push-to-talk. There were more phone's chirping than birds. And if you think Cell phones in the movies are bad, cell phones in the classroom are worse.

    So anyway while it may seem like they are blazing forward, this is really just a much needed upgrade from an earlier deployment. Most of the students wanted these kinds of upgrades while I was still there. Really all they needed was more access points in the dorms, but I understand that there are only so many can be crammed together before they run all over each other.

    It may sound like a rant against the school, but I really enjoyed my time there, Mainly because I commuted from (sorta) nearby Syracuse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kobaz ( 107760 )
      I too went to SUNY Morrisville. I was there from 01-03 as a Computer Science major. If you think you guys had it bad for bandwidth. You should have seen the status in 01. Anyone who got a laptop as part of the required laptop program had to go to that orientation. At the orientation I ethernetted in and I was all happy to test out the blazing fast campus internet. It had to be better than cable at home... right? I busily downloaded firefox and some other tools using console ftp (ftp in ie was broken
    • I have been to this school as well. It's sluggish as hell, very unreliable and easy to break into. I wouldn't even consider going to this school, not because they don't offer programs I want, but because of manditory wireless internets and cell phones. Rediculus waste of money.
    • the existing network was 802.11a I think you mean "802.11", not "802.11a". 802.11a is still in widespread use, and in fact lots of people are moving TO it, not away from it. 802.11a is 54Mbps on the 5GHz radio band. 802.11 was either 1Mbps or 2Mbps depending on flavor.
  • So how long ..... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 )
    So how long until the place is closed down because of health fears about this evil radiation, then?
  • by Cerberus7 ( 66071 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @08:31AM (#19606781)
    Why are they deploying a draft specification on such a large scale? The article says that they're banking on the draft becoming final, or that it will be a relatively easy flash up to the full 802.11n spec once that's released. Is this realistic? Anybody in-the-know on 802.11n have insight into this?
  • Holy CRAP! Someone out there knows that there is more to New York State than NYC, Long Island and "the rest of the state"! Amazing!
  • the people who bought 802.11n networks at bestbuy and using them at home or business now? Perhaps the title should have been first college to set one up? No idea, but I have seen n around a couple of months at local stores so there has to be someone out there using it.

    BTW what is the advantage over G? Still 2.4ghz?

    • 802.11n uses MIMO (multiple-in multiple-out) as well as some other techniques to achieve faster speed. It operates in 2.4GHz and 5GHz, though 2.4GHz is not really recommended because of legacy congestion and the fact that with 40MHz channel spacing (802.11a/b/g used 20MHz) you effectively have only a single non-overlapping channel in 2.4GHz. Life will be good in 5GHz. The main idea of MIMO is using reflection and multipath to your advantage. If you know the signal is going to bounce around, why not tran
  • I attend and work at DeVry University in Illinois and we deployed campus wide 802.11N AP's months ago.
  • I assume most of the devices used to access these APs will be wireless g devices. As such, won't the APs fall back to g compatibility mode, preventing you from getting either the range or the speed that wireless n offers? What's the point of having an n sender and a g receiver?

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas