KNUST Students Mobility on Campus with Vodafone Enterprise Wi-Fi Solution
KNUST as a nation's premier technology university aims to provide internet connectivity to the entire students and teaching populace to drive the use of scholarly online resources for teaching and research. However, situations today makes it difficult for both students and teaching staff as the school under the resources at its disposals are only able to provide internet service in few selected fixed locations primarily wired connections that limit easy access to internet for academic research and information. It is estimated that about less than 20% of the entire population have access to good internet connection with the rest of the majority having to depend on alternative source of internet for their day to day academic activities. The presence of the mobile phone operators providing mobile data, and several other private Wi-Fi internet service providers on campus as an alternative internet service has done little to improve the situation.
In terms of information technology infrastructural development, the school has seen some slow pace over the past years against its ICT development targets coupled with the complexity of its network design and visibility to manage its network from one central source. The current setup does not provide flexibility and scalability to students’ access and mobility on campus to empower them with online academic resources and ensuring their teaching and learning experience is improved. There is also a current gap regarding the school’s data and information management with its dependent on a single data centre located at Kumasi main campus, and the absence of data recovery centre poses a risk for business continuity. The reasons underlying these gaps sit three main areas;
- The huge capital outlay required to provide improved and easy access of internet to students and teaching staff
- The complexity, increasing risk and ongoing cost associated with managing telecom infrastructure on campus which do not form part of KNUST core business.
- The bureaucratic process involve in making important technology infrastructure because of the procurement spend threshold allocated to most government institution including KNUST
Vodafone Solution to the Problem
We have worked closely with KNUST to look at both their current requirements as well as their long term business strategy of transforming tuition through technology; and painstakingly looking at the current challenges confronting the school, we have developed a solution that is scalable, cost efficient, reliable, and most importantly convenience to end users.
Designing and implementing a solution that meets KNUST’s current and future business needs required a thorough review of different technology products, hence our decision to choose Cisco as the Wi-Fi solution partner was carefully thought through. The key drivers for choosing Cisco was based on scalability, reliability, visibility, seamless user experience, future proof, and more importantly cost efficiency with Cisco offering a special educational proposition and discount to enable Vodafone deliver the service to KNUST. The entire solution includes but not limited to the following
- Implementation of high grade enterprise Wi-Fi solution and high speed internet connectivity to 28 faculty areas, including its Institute of Distance Learning campus in Accra, the main administration block, main school library, central classroom block, and Dean of Students office to significantly improve and enhance students’ and teaching staff mobility and accessibility to academic resources
- Upgrade of Kumasi main Campus Data Centre to state of the art network operation centre to improve visibility, control and management of the school’s network from one source
- Setting up of secured data connectivity between KNUST Kumasi campus and Accra City Campus to allow real-time data transfer and sharing of academic resources across the two campuses
- Provision of Data Recovery centre to provide business continuity and improving service reliability
What has changed - The benfits to KNUST
Through the power of technology, we are giving KNUST the tool and power to be connected and improve access to, and sharing of information to transform students and teaching staff social and academic experience on campus. The benefits of this solution are enormous to students, teaching and non-teaching, and the school as an entity. To students and teaching staff, the ability to have easy access to internet everywhere on campus and access to high speed internet to download online academic resources will improve significantly the user experience for e-learning and mobility of studies. To the management of the school, the ability to have control and visibility of its network, the flexibility to add on services at minimal or no capital cost, and the option of having to commit less capital expenditure upfront which gives the school huge cost savings and reduces its total cost of ownership will ultimately change greatly how the school operates using technology. The extended benefits to the entire value chain of the school includes but not limited to the following:
- Increase access of internet from less than 20% today to more 70% with the aim of reaching out to every single students and teaching staff to ensure they can assess online resources with ease and convenience on campus
- Reduce total cost of ownership for operating and maintaining technology infrastructure with our build, operate, and managed enterprise Wi-Fi access on campus – the school will save over one million cedis on network upgrades, repairs, and management
- Eliminate the current complexity of school’s network with a more simplified, agile, and flexible setup that guarantees reliability, control and visibility of management – this will improve productivity of academic and non-academic activities by more than 40%
- A flexible commercial model that focuses on OPEX commitment to the school, and also guarantees huge cost savings with minimal upfront CAPEX to the school
- Reduce bureaucracy associated with national procurement requirements on capital intensive projects for public sector institutions like KNUST
- Reduce additional cost associated with students using alternative internet services and to ensure value for money on their annual ICT levies.
- Drive traffic and academic activities on campus and to encourage students to spend more time learning at the various faculty areas.