Improving Student Experiences with Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi at UNC Pembroke

To better meet student expectations, save time and resources, and identify new technology opportunities, the UNC Pembroke IT team deployed MR access points across the campus.

Over the last 25 years, the cost of a college education has increased nearly eight times faster than the average U.S. wage. Therefore, it’s no surprise that student loans make up the largest amount of U.S. non-housing debt. This higher education cost shift has left many students with the tough task of finding a quality education without breaking the bank.

While this may be daunting to any hopeful college student, not all hope is lost. Some schools across the U.S. are determined to give students a high-quality, affordable education, regardless of their background. One such example is the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP), which aims to change lives through education by offering students exceptional and affordable college experiences. As an NC Promise campus, UNCP offers students in-state tuition of $500 per semester and out-of-state tuition at $2,500 a semester, ensuring that all students have access to great education that they can afford. While cost is a very important factor, UNCP knows it is only one piece of the puzzle when striving to provide the best college experiences for students. The next step is to provide the best technology solutions to support learning everywhere on campus.

To better meet student expectations, Kevin Pait, Interim CIO and Associate Vice Chancellor (AVC) for IT, and his 5 person IT team deployed 700+ Cisco Meraki MR access points across the UNCP campus. This provides three main benefits for the school:

  1.     Improve Student Connections

“Since deploying Meraki in the residence halls and academic buildings, I never hear complaints. Right out of the gate, the student experience was excellent and our support tickets really dropped.” – Kevin Pait

With access points deployed in academic buildings, dorm rooms, common spaces, and outside, students have reliable, seamless coverage everywhere they go on campus. This has dramatically reduced the number of help desk tickets and complaints from students, and illustrates how much the Wi-Fi has improved since switching to Meraki. This enables students to focus on learning and collaborating, rather than using their time to troubleshoot access issues.

  1.     Save Time and Resources

“Meraki is simple. You’ve got the analytics, troubleshooting, errors, all of those things in the dashboard that have really helped to simplify system administration.” – Kevin Pait

With a cloud-managed wireless solution, the UNCP IT team was able to greatly simplify the wireless deployment and dramatically reduce the amount of time they spend on day-to-day network management and troubleshooting. This has saved the IT team countless hours, freeing up their time to focus on more impactful projects such as using data and analytics to inform decisions in other business units and make adjustments across the academic and residential departments.

  1.     Identify New Opportunities

“At the beginning we were really focused on what Meraki could do in terms of the infrastructure and the ease of management, maintenance and operations. But it’s just really opened up another world of opportunity.” – Kevin Pait

Now that the school has a reliable wireless solution in place, Kevin and the IT team can spend more time building new solutions and experiences for students. With increased network visibility, access to analytics, and a customizable platform, there are endless possibilities for the school to continue enhancing the technology experience for their students and employees on campus.

Today, UNCP uses Cisco networking, security, VoIP, collaboration, and wireless to provide an outstanding education for all students. To learn more about UNCP, watch the video and read their story.