UC upgrades wireless and wired networks


James McClendon, Asst. News Editor

Utica College has partnered with Extreme Networks to rebuild its wireless and wired network. The new network will enhance the student learning experience, boost staff productivity, lower the cost of education and improve instruction and retention rates.

UC’s Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Technology Vijay Sonty worked with Extreme Networks to broker a 10-year design and product support plan. UC received a 68 percent discount for equipment and services as well as having Extreme Networks complete the installation in half the time estimated by other competing companies.

“The vendor really helped us out and we were able to implement in six months what normally takes a whole year,” Sonty said.

The new network is a vast improvement from the network that was last upgraded in 2010. With the wireless lease expiring on July 15th of 2015 and issues with speed and connectivity Sonty made efforts to remedy these issues.

We had issues, so we did a wireless survey and about 50 percent of the users were unhappy,” Sonty said, “Since the upgrade everything has been running very smoothly.”

Along with the increased speed of the new network, Extreme has also provided application analytics software called Purview. This software helps the IT department understand user experience and engagement, optimize application performance, detect malicious application use, and reduce network and application response time.

The upgraded network allows students to better connect to social networking applications such as Facebook. It also increases the quality of streaming sites like Netflix and YouTube.

The entertainment impact is only a portion of the improvements. The network has given students and faculty increased access to online educational tools.

UC’s Assistant Professor of Computer Science Ronny Bull has had a very positive experience using the new network in his classroom.

“The new network should allow students to access my resources a lot easier and with a lot less latency,” Bull said.

Like anything in its infancy the new network had a few kinks that needed to be worked out towards the beginning of the fall semester, but so far the overall experience has been good for Bull.

“The network has been good when it is up and running,” Bull said. “The beginning of last semester there were a couple of issues where things dropped out but towards the end of last semester things were working good.”

Steve Zurich, a graduate student at UC, believes the new network will help him get the most from his educational experience at in the business graduate program.

“It is a great feeling to be able to get the information I need for class without worrying that the network will be out of service,” Zurich said.

The four goals set by UC at the onset of this endeavor were: to make the systems more user-friendly, to enhance support for the best user experience, to improve the availability and reliability of systems and to lower costs of managing systems and doing more with less.

CIO Sonty and his staff feel they have met and exceeded these goals and will continue to provide economical and strategic solutions for a growing UC community.