Enhancing Student Living: How the University of Leeds Transformed Its Wi-Fi

In today’s digital world, students arrive at university armed with more than just a laptop – they bring phones, tablets, smart TVs and even gaming consoles. When choosing a university, students are now considering the quality of the accommodations and the services they provide.

In the process of refurbishing 7,500 rooms across its halls of residence, the University of Leeds saw the opportunity to upgrade its accommodations’ Wi-Fi network. The University partnered with Logicalis UKI, a technology service provider dedicated to delivering next-generation digital platforms, to implement a cutting-edge network solution. Leeds was laser-focused on providing students with superior internet experience, positioning them as a modern and forward-thinking university.

The goal was to provide each student with a personal access point to onboard devices, akin to a home broadband experience. However, the challenge lay in avoiding interference between multiple access points and ensuring heightened security measures in the face of evolving cyber threats.

 Ambitions of the project:

The project’s focus extended beyond merely enhancing signal strength, prioritising an exceptional user experience with far-reaching implications. The key objectives for this project included:

1. Full replacement of hardware meeting modern standards and reducing support workload.

2. Enterprise-level security to safeguard the university network and students.

3. Home broadband style experience for seamless connectivity and ease of use.

4. Simplifying device management to empower students with easy onboarding capabilities.

 Creating a unique solution

Given Logicalis’ longstanding twenty-year relationship with the University of Leeds, they worked collaboratively to transform their network across the 7,500 rooms. Leaning on its title as a Cisco Global Gold Partner, Logicalis leveraged the Cisco Meraki ecosystem, utilising the latest Wi-Fi versions with user segregation through encryption and automated APIs.

Logicalis also partnered with Splash Access, an existing Logicalis supplier and Meraki ecosystem partner, to develop a student-friendly app. This app allowed students to register and self-manage their virtual room, ensuring easy onboarding of all their devices.

 A key aspect of the project was the University of Leeds’ desire for an access point in each of the 7,500 rooms. However, the challenge of having multiple access points situated in proximity presented a significant risk that they could interfere with each other. To overcome this problem, Logicalis engineered a unique solution that could provide the density of access points the university required while overcoming the engineering challenges.

 Empowering impact:

The collaborative partnership between the University of Leeds and Logicalis yielded a straightforward, low-complexity, and easily supportable solution. By integrating the University’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) system, authorised access to on-demand private networks was ensured. Logicalis maximised the reuse of existing cabling infrastructure, reducing project costs and complexity, while delivering higher capacity and long support life.

Both Logicalis UKI and the University of Leeds are incredibly proud of the network project to be shortlisted for the ‘Transformation Through Technology Award’. The collaboration has truly transformed the student living experience at Leeds University, providing seamless connectivity and empowering our students with easy device management.

As a result of the project, the University of Leeds now boasts a modern, secure, and user-friendly network that supports students and their devices around the clock. The improved connectivity and seamless user experience have positively impacted the university community. Students enjoy unfettered access to learning resources and better communication with their peers and lecturers, fostering a collaborative and thriving academic environment.

The University’s visionary approach to enhancing its Wi-Fi network showcases its dedication to providing students with exceptional living and learning experiences. The successful collaboration with Logicalis and the implementation of cutting-edge technology have set new standards for student accommodation services. By embracing innovation and prioritising user experience, the University has solidified its reputation as a forward-thinking institution, empowering students to thrive in the digital age.

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