The Oaklands College campus is situated in a primarily residential area. Many faculty and students are using WiFi to access College resources as well as the Internet. The technical support team was getting too many calls where users were unable to access network resources. After some investigation they were able to find the source of the problem and implement a solution.
The helpdesk was flooded with calls where users could not connect to College resources. An analysis was done on the calls which determined that the majority of problems were due to connection to non-College networks.
At first it was difficult to understand how so many users thought they were connected to the network when in reality they were not. After careful review of the helpdesk logs, it became apparent that most callers were accessing the network using a WiFi connection. Once this was determined, the tech support staff made sure to check whether the users were connected to the Internet, and if so, which wireless network (SSID) they were using.
After a speaking with a number of callers, it became apparent that the users who could not access network resources were actually connected to a number of different WiFi networks whose names were not recognized by the staff. They soon figured out that these were names of residential wireless networks (SSIDs) located around the perimeter of the campus.
A systems analyst in the IT department recognized the problem and set out looking for a solution. "At first we thought about implementing a solution using Windows native Wireless Zero Configuration, but soon realized that there was no way to centrally configure or control the settings." said the analyst, "It became apparent that this type of solution would not help achieve our goal of cutting down on the number of help desk calls related to laptops connecting to the wrong wireless network."
A member of the team began scouring the Internet and found Code Red’s AirStop Wireless software.
The AirStop solution is designed to permit connection to administrator approved WiFi networks, while denying access to unauthorized external wireless networks. The software automatically detects if the authorized network is in range and can allow access to other networks, or restrict access to a single network according to administrator defined parameters.
"Besides solving our technical problems we had to make sure that the software would be transparent to our users. Don’t forget that getting helpdesk calls related to AirStop would be trading in one tech support headache for another. Fortunately we were able to test the product on a number of machines and found it solved the problem for us and was not a problem for our users."
AirStop was set to allow connection to the administrator approved College WiFi network while preventing access to all other networks – including the plethora of residential wireless networks in the area.
"Testing the product was imperative for us. After that we could order a significant number of licenses and implement the solution with confidence," commented the procurement officer for the Oaklands IT Department.
After successful implementation of AirStop, wireless users could connect only to the College network and the amount of tech support calls related to these issues significantly decreased. Not only were the support staff pleased with the results, but the users also benefited from automated seamless WiFi access.
As wireless networks become more pervasive, IT departments are looking for solutions which are manageable, secure and cost effective. While wireless communications can benefit users, they can also be challenging for IT professionals in general and the tech support staff in particular.
In the case of Oaklands College, the AirStop solution has proven to be effective in increasing user satisfaction while reducing the burden on tech support.
Code Red was incorporated in 2004 by a dedicated group of highly experienced entrepreneurs. Based at the Jerusalem College of Technology, the company draws from experience in both military and civilian command and control applications. The company’s customers include some of the largest public and private companies in N. America, Europe and Asia. Code Red is dedicated to a high level of quality assurance and technical support resulting in satisfied partners and customers worldwide. For more information visit our website at http://www.code-red.biz.
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