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Empowering student involvement in campus network deployment

The University of Málaga dormitory has lacked of a structured WiFi installation since its beginnings. As that situation was not tolerable, the University decided to tackle that problem in a very educative and creative way: by letting students take substantial part in the new WiFi deployment. To achieve that, a group of ten volunteers (all of them students from different degrees) was created, being two of them the ones that have been maintaining the dormitory network for the last four years. These two students were in charge of the network designing tasks and the communication with the university CIO. During all July and the first half of September, the entire team worked hard all day long to achieve its goal. All the team members learned a lot of networking related stuff: from network planning from an abstract point of view to wire deployment through corrugated pipe. After such tasks, 47 access points and 10 Km of wire were installed. As soon as this first deployment finished, the VoIP deployment started as the new infrastructure now has the capability of sustaining such service featuring (among other things) high quality audio, which will completely replace the previous analogic telephony system. To provide such VoIP service an open source PBX will be set up. Now the WiFi service is better than ever and everybody is happy, considering there is also an ongoing VoIP deployment that will take the dormitory telephony to a whole new level, and of course is again being carried out thanks to the student participation. This successful story proves that student involvement in campus network deployment and maintenance is possible, efficient and educative. It’s definitely a rich experience for both students and universities and consequently it should eventually be put into practice.


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