Juniper Connects UMass Amherst Students for Better Engagement

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  September 26, 2022

UMass Amherst, like pretty much every other university, needs reliable Wi-Fi as in-person learning is in full force again. They are seeing more devices connecting to the network accessing more high-bandwidth applications than ever, including streaming in dorm rooms  To accommodate current needs and deliver an exceptional experience, UMass Amherst needed the scalability and reliability of a modern Wi-Fi environment to optimize the experiences of 32,000 students, 6,400 faculty/staff and more than 120,000 connected devices.

The university’s existing legacy wireless infrastructure wasn’t getting the job done, so it decided to pilot Juniper’s AI-driven wireless platform in residence halls that previously experienced the most Wi-Fi complaints. After two months with no Wi-Fi support tickets, the university rolled out Juniper wireless across the rest of campus while minimizing operational burdens on IT staff.

The Juniper network leverages Juniper’s Mist AI to proactively identify and fix problems with self-driving actions. Mist AI uses a combination of AI, machine learning and data science techniques to optimize user experiences and simplify operations.

The university saw benefits that included faster connectivity, better student engagement inside and outside of the classroom, increased health and safety across campuses and better integration for IoT devices.

“With Juniper, we have better visibility into the student experience, while Mist AI and analytics make it easier to diagnose network problems,” said Jim Mileski, chief technology officer at UMass Amherst. “Plus, a modern cloud simplifies the network and improves resiliency.”

Additionally, zero-touch provisioning through the Mist portal and mobile app made it easier to set up thousands of access points than in the past. Mileski pointed out that outside consultants took two weeks to deploy a new building, but student workers take two to four hours with Juniper.

Utilizing Juniper’s wireless platform will streamline the campus wireless experience, create new initiatives and enable new strategic initiatives across campuses. Just think, green smart buildings with automatic doors and environmental controls and smart buses with predictive maintenance capabilities.

Edited by Erik Linask