“We were not equipped nor chartered to be an ISP. Turning that business over to Apogee was a good business decision for Ithaca College. It’s been a win-win situation for everybody.”
www.ithaca.edu ~ Ed Fuller, Associate Vice President, Information Technology Services, Ithaca College
San Francisco State (SFSU) is part of the largest system of higher education in the country granting bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the California State University (CSU). With 23 campuses and 417,000 students, it is among the largest university systems world-wide. Enrollment at SFSU has climbed past 29,000 students on its 134 acre campus in southwest San Francisco, with approximately 2,200 students receiving full-service residential housing. As a critical component of the CSU system, San Francisco State is considered one of the leading urban public campuses in the country.
After experiencing extraordinary growth in enrollment over recent years, San Francisco State saw that their technology and support needs were increasing rapidly. Recognizing that their current network would soon reach capacity, school officials developed an ambitious plan for network expansion. Through a series of phased acquisition projects, they began expanding their housing facilities, adding several large-scale residential communities adjacent to campus. By adding integrated voice, video and data services to each new bed, the existing housing network would expand by an additional 12,000+ connections.
At the same time, as a large number of new beds were being added, both existing and newly acquired residences needed to develop a competitive advantage to attract student residents. In order to fully modernize communications services throughout the campus, several portions of the existing network would be rebuilt and new infrastructure would be needed for acquired properties – a project that would require extensive construction. The ultimate goal was to achieve an infrastructure so flexible and dependable that it could meet campus technology demands for the next 15 years.
One of the most important challenges SF State wanted to address was the rapid and continual increase in student expectations. A massive rise in the use of streaming video online has driven huge increases in bandwidth demand, while broadening availability of wi-fi access means that more and more students expect wireless connectivity everywhere on campus. As a result of this steady rise in expectations, technology in the residence halls has become one of the primary amenities for students and parents when comparing housing options. At SF State, keeping ahead of students needs while not spending significantly more money on new staff and equipment was critical to filling the beds and paying the new mortgage costs taken on by additional housing.
With construction progressing, housing technology staff were increasingly consumed with other projects related to the rapid expansion. Working under tight capital budgets and limited staff resources, SFSU determined that the best strategy was to partner with a specialized and experienced network provider.
A highly selective nation-wide search began for a network partner who could build, support and maintain this all-new wired and wireless infrastructure, and then provide converged voice, video, and data services across that framework. Recognizing that students increasingly expect the highest standard in technology for their on-campus networks, the company would need to have a solid base of experience handling complex network design needs that are unique in high density university housing. With the rise in available rich media content and the emerging risks of high network usage and piracy, they also needed a company who understood how to service and support the school’s unique constituency in a demanding environment.
San Francisco State found a solution to all of these challenges in The Apogee Powered ResNet – a scalable, fully integrated voice/video/data network with complete on-site maintenance and around-the-clock support. Based on a proven record of success handling every aspect of their planned projects, Apogee provided the foundation to achieve the school’s broad vision for growth. The university was able to keep the administrative control they needed without the hassles they were accustomed to.
SFSU determined that there were three major components critical to the success of their expansion:
A reliable and flexible cabling infrastructure that would exceed expected capacity needs over the next 15 years, including:
- CAT6 Ethernet cabling
- High-frequency coaxial cabling
- Single-mode fiber-optic cabling to support 10 Gigabit and emerging 100 Gigabit service
Leading edge student services in a highly mobile campus environment, including:
- Full Wired Ethernet service and leading edge 802.11n wireless service
- High Definition television programming with TV to the Desktop included
- Voice over IP (VoIP) with a clear path to mobile service
Superior support centered around student’s schedules and use of technologies, including:
- 24/7/365 phone support
- Integrated emergency alert system that ties cable TV, text and Internet alerts into one system
- Guest and conference support service provided year-round
Apogee brought them all together into a single, meaningful service with tight cost controls.
When they sat down to plan the massive expansion of their residential community, SFSU wanted to build an infrastructure and provide leading edge services that would put them at the forefront of residential communications services in higher education. With Apogee’s unparalleled experience servicing higher education, San Francisco State knew that they had found a network partner who understood how to meet the unique challenges of serving students in the digital age. By partnering with Apogee, SFSU found a network solution that exceeded high expectations, freed IT staff for campus pursuits, and laid the groundwork for a residential network designed to meet tomorrow’s needs today.