Facebook recently reminded me of when one of my kids
spoke at her graduation ceremony from the School of Engineering at Southern Methodist
University (SMU) in Dallas.
Almost simultaneously, I heard that SMU was extending
their campus fiber ring underneath a major highway to connect their east campus
to the main. This is likely the final piece to upgrading its network that
started several years ago, connecting and protecting their most valuable assets
– their students, our children.
SMU is a beautiful campus, like a classic ivy-league
school (but it’s warm in the winter), and we all immediately fell in love with
it. With three new buildings dedicated
to engineering, it matched the educational focus my daughter valued. Only 45 minutes from home, it matched my
wife’s key criteria. And they were, and
still are, a valued CommScope
SYSTIMAX customer. I clearly
remember sitting in a lecture with my daughter and marveling at the Cat6A ports
at every desk, much to my daughter’s chagrin.
Regarding infrastructure, fiber is a focus for campuses
of all types: education, healthcare, sprawling corporate campuses and
multi tenant data centers (MTDC). And
yes, it’s still about bandwidth and distance, but now fiber supports a broader
suite of applications beyond building-to-building interconnectivity.
For example, during my daughter’s four years on campus,
she struggled with cellular coverage, particularly when she was in a low-level dorm
room her freshman year. But as students
and parents raised their collective voice, SMU responded and installed our ION DAS
solution, which is enabled by a fiber backbone. Together, we eliminated
“poor coverage” as an excuse for students not taking your calls! You’re welcome parents of the future!
And why do we want to call? Because we worry. We worry about everything, but particularly
their safety. Fiber helps there as well, with powered fiber cable systems supporting
remote deployments of POE-enabled devices such as security cameras and WiFi
access points across a large campus, so they’re always connected, always in
SMU is meeting the expectations of the next generation of
students and parents. My daughter graduated SMU in 2014 with a degree in civil/environmental
engineering and teaches high school physics and chemistry to future engineers
in the greater Dallas area. I am obviously proud of her, but I’m also happy to
be helping SMU and campuses of all types connect and protect their employees,
students and visitors. When it comes to connectivity, what other improvements
do you think campuses could provide their students?