Innovation and Continuity: Cisco Meraki in the Education Sector

This is the story of how the Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University in Bolivia successfully overcame significant technological infrastructure challenges by adopting Cisco Meraki. To delve deeper into this journey, we spoke with Henry Jurado, Networking and Communication Manager, who provided insights into the positive impact that this technology has had on their institution.

A tale of adaptation and continuous improvement

Located in Tarija, Bolivia—a city in the southern part of the country at an altitude of 1,834 meters above sea level—Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University (UAJMS) is the most prominent institution in the region and has been expanding to various provinces in recent years. With a vision of being a leading and innovative institution, it has been implementing information and communication technologies since 2008, incorporating new solutions year after year. However, from 2018 to 2022, they faced several technological challenges, including those arising from the pandemic. This situation revealed several shortcomings in their capacity to support and facilitate distance learning.

With the previous technology, wireless deployment required significant technological and financial resources. Additionally, it took a considerable amount of time and human effort to extend the wireless network, especially in the provinces where there was a high demand for new network access.

Henry tells us that until then, the university had been using a 2012 technology based on a wireless architecture with a couple of high-availability controllers. This system initially controlled over 270 wireless antennas, and over time, they expanded this system to have more than 350 antennas deployed across the university campus. However, with the university’s growth, the need for a more robust and scalable solution became evident.

The turning point: The need for change

The initial technology they were using provided a quality wireless signal for the requirements of that time. However, as the number of network users increased, complications began to emerge. Many users attempted to connect to a single wireless device, leading to significant disconnection and load balancing issues. They reached a point where they recognized that the capacity of the current technology had reached its limit. Although the architecture had functioned efficiently for years, the surge in user demand and the increased number of devices that students now use (at least two or three devices per student) prompted them to opt for technology that could not only maintain the quality of the wireless signal but also handle high volumes of user traffic.

The rising demand from users and the growing number of devices employed by students prompted us to choose technology that not only ensures the quality of the wireless signal but can also support high volumes of user traffic.

Discovering Cisco Meraki

It was then that Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University discovered Cisco Meraki. Offering a more robust and scalable wireless architecture, Cisco Meraki seemed to be the solution they desperately needed. Hoping to open new spaces and scenarios for students to connect to academic and administrative systems, the university decided to implement this new wireless technology.
With Cisco’s team’s help, the university began transitioning to Cisco Meraki, adopting a 100% cloud-managed wireless network infrastructure. The implementation was a resounding success, with significant improvements in network management and a reduction in operational costs. As a result, they noticed a vast difference in key metrics. The first is the number of users that a single access point can support with the new technology. Moreover, they now have unified network management through the Meraki Dashboard, which allows them to have complete visibility and make real-time decisions based on analytics.

Students using the Wi-Fi network

Strengthening the relationship with Cisco and looking to the future

Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University has maintained a relationship with Cisco since 2006, and the implementation of Cisco Meraki has helped to strengthen this bond. Throughout the process, Cisco’s team provided constant support, ensuring that the university could fully leverage its new infrastructure.
Looking to the future, the university is excited about the opportunities that Cisco Meraki will continue to offer.

With the new technology, they were able to reduce times and operational costs. They can now preconfigure their equipment and manage everything from a main Dashboard. This has optimized their resources, guaranteed network access for all users, and improved the administration and management of their network.

Recommendation for others

Henry Jurado, Networking and Communication Manager at Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University , recommends considering a brand with engineering capabilities that can help analyze various factors on a technical level, much like the Cisco team does. It’s crucial that the chosen technology is compatible and can integrate seamlessly with the rest of the infrastructure to offer a broader vision, enhanced administration and management, and the ability to make real-time decisions on the network.

Through the implementation of Cisco Meraki, Juan Misael Saracho Autonomous University has turned its challenges into successes and has dramatically improved the experience for its students and staff. This is a story of how the right technology can not only solve problems but also unlock new opportunities and possibilities.


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