Estudio de caso: Nipissing University asegura la conectividad de la red inalámbrica y los dispositivos inteligentes y la seguridad para los estudiantes y profesores con AirMagnet Enterprise de NETSCOUT |

Estudio de caso: Nipissing University asegura la conectividad de la red inalámbrica y los dispositivos inteligentes y la seguridad para los estudiantes y profesores con AirMagnet Enterprise de NETSCOUT

At a Glance:


Higher Education


North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Nipissing University Info Graphic

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Nipissing University's wireless network spans three campus locations and supports more than 4,500 students and more than 300 faculty and staff. It gives end-users Wi-Fi access to critical applications such as email, Internet and online curriculum materials in the classrooms and residence halls. As wireless expectations have grown and the network has been flooded with new smart devices and other wireless technology, the university's IT department has struggled to keep pace. The team constantly faces challenges around unpredictable access point traffic, rogue devices, interference, competing channel usage, the threat of malicious attacks, and even PCI compliance.


NETSCOUT'S AirMagnet Enterprise


Nipissing University selected NETSCOUT'S AirMagnet Enterprise to help manage and optimize wireless network performance and proactively protect against possible security vulnerabilities. The system allows the IT department to monitor performance in real-time to identify possible bottlenecks, ensure smart device connectivity, easily troubleshoot interference issues (including channel usage from other Wi-Fi networks), meet PCI compliance guidelines, quickly track rogue devices, and protect the network against possible attacks or misuse in the future.


Nipissing University is located in North Bay, Ontario, Canada and serves more than 4,500 students across three primary campuses in North Bay, Muskoka and Brantford. Established in 1967, the university received its independent charter in 1992 and is a primary undergraduate university with a reputation for excellence in teacher education, arts, sciences and other professional programs. Programs are based on personal teaching practices, innovative approaches to learning, and a growing research culture.

"Wireless connectivity is a critical service we offer to all students and staff on campus. But, ensuring the quality of this service can be challenging especially with the increase in smart devices and bandwidth usage. Not only are there performance expectations that need to be met, but we also need to proactively ensure we're meeting certain compliance standards and protecting our users. AirMagnet Enterprise gives us the insight we need and the ability to monitor 24x7 so we can deliver a network that matches the level of excellence offered by our university." - Greg Seamen, manager of infrastructure support, Nipissing University


Nipissing University's wireless network supports more than 4,500 students and more than 300 faculty and staff. The network spans three campus locations, has 530 access points (APs), and thousands of networked devices. End-users leverage Wi-Fi to access critical applications such as email, Internet and online study materials. The university is committed to excellence not only in the curriculum it offers, but the facilities and services it delivers to students and staff. Wireless access is considered a critical part of the university experience.

"As our university grows, so do the expectations around wireless access. More and more students are using smart devices and technology on campus both in residence halls and classrooms," said Greg Seamen, manager of infrastructure support at Nipissing University. "This increased usage, and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, creates many challenges for the IT department and calls for increased visibility into network performance and security. To meet the needs of students and faculty, it's important that we understand how the network is being used, what interference or access point overload issues we may have, and proactively work to eliminate rogue devices and stop malicious activity."

In addition, the campus is shared with a community college that also has its own Wi-Fi network. This can create channel usage issues, so the university must be able to monitor and see other network access points for channel planning and network health.

"Campus wireless networks are often complex ecosystems of access. Whether in classrooms, residence halls or administrative offices, connectivity and bandwidth is key to preserving university productivity, and even supporting new iPad pilot programs, networked cash machines, general student living and more," said Seamen. "However, ensuring performance and security is not simple, especially when faced with unpredictable access point traffic, strict PCI compliance guidelines, and the constant threat of rogue devices, interference and malicious attacks."

Complicating matters, the university has limited wireless bandwidth, and priority for availability is reserved for legitimate research and education purposes. Therefore, the university needs to have complete visibility into traffic loads, bandwidth and channel usage, spectrum interference and more, so it can meet both educational and lifestyle requirements for wireless.

"The university never sleeps. Students and faculty work – and play – at all hours of the day. In addition, users are constantly bringing the latest and greatest smart devices onto campus, pushing the limits of BYOD. Having insight 24x7 into how the network is performing, what devices are sucking up bandwidth, or if a security vulnerability exists, can mean the difference between network harmony or chaos," said Seamen.

Today's student and faculty population at Nipissing University expect wireless to "just work." But, without a centralized system that provides wireless visibility into performance and security, the IT team is challenged to keep the network healthy and productive.


To gain visibility into the network and ensure performance and security of the wireless infrastructure, Nipissing University selected AirMagnet Enterprise, a dedicated wireless intrusion detection and prevention system (WIPS/WIDS). It provides dedicated 24x7 security and performance monitoring, and remote troubleshooting and intelligent spectrum analysis capability, so Nipissing University's IT department can centralize the monitoring and management of its wireless networks.

AirMagnet Enterprise proactively protects the university's Wi-Fi networks and users from all types of threats, and ensures maximum network performance and uptime, arming staff with tools to solve problems quickly. It provides full-time automated analysis of all Wi-Fi traffic, channels, devices, their connection state as well as optional spectrum analysis of non-Wi-Fi devices and sources of interference. This full-time view allows IT staff get to the root cause of any problem, instead of just seeing the symptoms, while ensuring full visibility and control over the wireless boundary between their network assets, the community college's network, and the outside world.

Furthermore, AirMagnet Enterprise's AirWISE engine constantly analyzes all wireless devices and traffic using a combination of frame inspection, stateful pattern analysis, statistical modeling, radio frequency (RF) analysis and anomaly detection, enabling detection of hundreds of specific threats, attacks and vulnerabilities such as rogue devices, spoofed devices, DoS attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, evil twins, as well as the most recent hacking tools and techniques such as MDK3, Karmetasploit and 802.11n DoS attacks.


"La conectividad inalámbrica es un servicio crítico que ofrecemos a todos los estudiantes y al personal en el campus. Pero, asegurar la calidad de este servicio puede ser desafiante, especialmente con el aumento en el uso de dispositivos inteligentes y el ancho de banda. No solo hay expectativas de rendimiento que necesitan cumplirse, sino que también necesitamos asegurar de forma proactiva que estamos cumpliendo ciertos estándares de conformidad y protegiendo a nuestros usuarios. AirMagnet Enterprise nos da el conocimiento que necesitamos y la capacidad de supervisar las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana, de manera que podamos ofrecer una red que iguale el nivel de excelencia ofrecido por nuestra universidad", dijo Seamen.

Antes de implementar AirMagnet Enterprise, el personal de TI tomó un enfoque reactivo con el rendimiento y la solución de problemas de la red inalámbrica, usando a menudo herramientas ad hoc para solucionar problemas. Los estudiantes congestionaban ciertos AP durante las horas de clase o reproducían vídeos pesado en los dormitorios durante la noche. El equipo luchó para asegurar una conectividad y capacidad de proceso uniforme para los usuarios finales. Esto dio lugar a un nivel alto de quejas de rendimiento y dejó a Seamen y a su personal con una falta de visibilidad sobre cómo remediar o actualizar estratégicamente la red.

Con AirMagnet Enterprise, el personal de TI obtiene visibilidad completa con análisis de espectro integrado y análisis de 802.11 a/b/g/n. El sistema detecta problemas de forma proactiva y ofrece a los ingenieros consejos para soluciones por temas y herramientas remotas activas para solucionar los problemas. Es más, con una función automática de comprobación de estado, Seamen y su equipo pueden detectar y ubicar rápida y exactamente la causa de los problemas que pueden estar afectando a los usuarios. Esto reduce el tiempo y el coste asociados a la solución de problemas inalámbricos complejos.

Además, al traer los estudiantes los últimos dispositivos inteligentes a la red a niveles asombrosos, la red está constantemente en un estado de constante evolución. Tener la capacidad de ver estos dispositivos y cómo interactúan con la red es vital para gestionar el rendimiento y la seguridad.

"Cada estudiante o miembro del personal parece tener un dispositivo inteligente actualmente. De hecho, estamos ejecutando programas piloto en la universidad que aprovechan los iPads en el salón de clase. Estos dispositivos permiten que los usuarios utilicen aplicaciones complejas que consumen mucho ancho de banda. Sin la planificación y la gestión apropiados de la infraestructura, la universidad no podría apoyar estos programas o dispositivos inteligentes", dijo Seamen.

Con AirMagnet Enterprise, Seamen y su personal obtienen alertas dinámicas cuando se presentan problemas de rendimiento. Esto les da la información necesaria para resolver problemas remotamente o para ir a un lugar del campus para arreglar un problema. También permite que vean todos los AP activos y dispositivos clandestinos en la red. Puesto que la universidad comparte su campus con una universidad comunitaria que tiene su propio WLAN, la gestión del uso del canal es clave para mitigar la sobrecarga. Y, con los estudiantes usando dispositivos inteligentes como zonas activas o como dispositivos inalámbricos no autorizados (tales como una impresora inalámbrica), poder identificar de forma proactiva a estos dispositivos y localizarlos rápidamente es vital para mantener la red funcionando de forma óptima.

"Cuando se trata de conectividad y del consumo de ancho de banda, el uso para investigación y educación tiene prioridad sobre reproducir vídeos o música. Por lo tanto, siempre tenemos el desafío de asegurarnos de que la red inalámbrica cumple primero los requisitos educativos. Con AirMagnet Enterprise, podemos mirar el uso e identificar fácilmente qué está congestionando el ancho de banda. Esto nos da la información de rendimiento que necesitamos para aumentar la red o repriorizar el acceso", dijo Seamen

Además, tener una solución de WIPS/WIDS que no tiene preferencia por algún proveedor era también una necesidad para Nipissing University. "Nuestra red utiliza parte de la última tecnología de AP, no obstante, a medida que avanzamos, queremos asegurarnos que la solución puede apoyar nuevos AP sin importar el fabricante. Esto nos da la máxima flexibilidad, para que así podamos ahorrar tiempo y dinero cuando actualicemos o agreguemos dispositivos en el futuro a la red inalámbrica", dijo Seamen.

Finalmente, la universidad tiene varios cajeros automáticos conectados en red en el campus. La generación de informes integrada para el cumplimiento con PCI de AirMagnet Enterprise proporciona visibilidad inmediata de problemas que pueden necesitar resolverse y permite al personal automatizar la generación de informes, para que puedan establecer una biblioteca de informes de cumplimiento en caso de una auditoría.

"AirMagnet Enterprise se ha convertido en un sistema vital para nuestra universidad. Nos permite gestionar el rendimiento y hacer frente a los nuevos desafíos asociados con dispositivos inteligentes y la seguridad. No hay más suposiciones cuando se trata de la red inalámbrica. Podemos ahora planificar, resolver problemas y asegurar de forma proactiva nuestra red inalámbrica. La conectividad ahora es un servicio confiable y valioso que podemos ofrecer con confianza a los estudiantes y al personal", dijo Seamen.

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