Case Study: Netsync Delivers New Teleworking Solution for Elite University

Netsync Quickly Designs and Deploys a Creative Remote Working Solution With the University’s Existing Cisco Equipment

The Challenge

Located in Houston, Rice University is one of the country’s most well-respected educational institutions, world-renowned for its engineering, research, and computer science schools. Their IT organization abruptly found itself in need of a solution to address what has affected organizations the world over due to the COVID-19 pandemic—how to keep employees productive while working safely from home.

After meeting with the university’s key stakeholders, Netsync’s Wireless & Mobility Practice professionals knew what would perfectly meet their need to keep employees safe at home and operate as if still in the office―the precise solution they had already deployed for the university’s students, which provides them with a more personalized, at-home experience. Now, the university’s teleworking solution not only provides their employees with a more personalized, in-office experience while working from home, but they were able to save OPEX in the form of time and resources and CAPEX by using technology that had already been deployed.

Netsync Extends Campus Solution to Employees’ Homes

Not only did Netsync’s teleworking solution borrow from the success of the campus refresh project, it uses existing equipment from Netsync’s longtime, trusted partner Cisco. Like the university’s campus refresh project, their new teleworking solution uses existing Cisco Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers, which fortify networks and can be deployed anywhere, including the cloud. The Catalyst 9800 keeps networks up and running by providing high availability and seamless software updates. With its runtime defenses, imaging signing, secure boots, and more, the Catalyst 9800 helps secure devices, users, and infrastructures.

At home, Rice University’s employees use Cisco Aironet 1815w Access Points. With a choice of 4 models to fit precise needs, the Cisco Aironet 1815w Access Points offer a compact, wall plate-mountable access point and are perfect for residential halls, homes, multiple-dwelling-units, hospitality, and more. They’re built to take full advantage of existing cabling infrastructure while blending into the visual footprint, providing best-in-class performance while reducing (TCO) total cost of ownership.

Netsync’s professionals set the Cisco Access Points, which provide wireless and wired connectivity, to OfficeExtend mode, extending the university’s WLAN to employees over the Internet. Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) encryption between the Access Points and the Controller ensure that all communications have the highest level of security. Netsync configured the dual controllers with university SSIDs and defined the network wireless access points. Tunnels are encrypted so both the data and control plane are secure. By simply plugging the Cisco Aironet 1815w into a home router, Rice University employees can not only seamlessly enjoy wireless connectivity, but can connect their Cisco IP desk phones to have that true, in-office experience while staying safe at home.

“Like every organization, the need to immediately deploy a teleworking solution due to the COVID-19 pandemic caught us off guard,” said Jason Glim, Rice University’s Network Director. “Thankfully, we have used Netsync to deploy innovative IT solutions for years. We knew that their engineering experts would have answers to our teleworking questions. They not only had them, but they came in the form of a creative solution that, based on first-hand experience, we knew would work. It has, and perfectly.”