THE CHALLENGE: Aston University Students’ Union first contacted First Class Technologies back in 2007 when the need for reliable wireless internet access for students living on campus was first recognised.

Since then, First Class Technologies has continued to help Aston Brook Green student residence stay at the forefront of technological advancements. The First Class team has recently upgraded the infrastructure to Wi-Fi 6 to supply the 148 bedrooms with sufficient internet connections to cope with today’s technological lifestyle and the increasing amount of internet enabled devices that students now use daily.

THE OPPORTUNITY: Developed over 30 years ago, Aston Brook Green Student residence evolved from a pocket of 52 Victorian terraced houses into a modernised collection of 60 flats, which house students in a number of 1,3 and 4 bedroom properties that each require sufficiently strong internet connections.

Back in 2007, First Class Technologies originally installed a network of ruggedised external wireless access points designed to allow access to a dedicated 10 Mbps service.

This system served the student union well for over 7 years, then was reviewed again in 2014, when internet usage across the population rapidly increased, meaning extra demands were being placed on the existing network.

First Class recommended upgrading the system by installing 30 internal access points mounted in the roof space of the student buildings, via a hardwired network point, to reduce space requirements whilst adding a level of security by keeping the access points out of sight and reach. Each access point used Power over Ethernet (PoE) to allow it to receive both data connection and electrical power with one cable, to reduce unsightly cabling and associated costs.

Since then, the need for faster and faster internet has continued, due to the advancements in smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). As a result, First Class’s technical skills were called upon again, to upgrade the university students’ union to the next generation of Wi-Fi solutions, Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi 6 provides coverage and performance for the most demanding of internet environments, even a housing community full of students each running multiple devices!

Wi-Fi 6 provides the coverage and capacity to ensure all the connected devices can perform at optimum level, whilst maintaining the highest standards of security and functionality. The capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, coupled with the security of Wi-Fi certified WPA3 will help to alleviate any slow performance or connection problems at peak times, whilst providing better signal strength in congested areas.

IN CONCLUSION: Housing Manager for Aston University Student Accommodation, Malcolm Lawrie commented: “We are delighted with the intelligent solutions provided by First Class Technologies at Aston Brook Green, throughout the whole process they kept us informed and exceeded our expectations.”

Ashleigh Goodwin, Accommodation Services Manager at Aston Brook Green says: “With students requiring more robust Wi-Fi across a range of new devices, an upgrade was necessary to accommodate current requirements and First Class Technologies was quick to recognise this. The upgrade provides faster internet speeds to residents, allowing them to use the Wi-Fi how they need – whether this is for studying or socialising. The on-going relationship we have with First Class Technologies continues to be invaluable in terms of us being able to work together to help the students’ union stay up-to-date with the growing IT requirements due to the ongoing advancements in technology. The team at First Class Technologies is always on-hand to provide assistance and troubleshoot whenever necessary, and we’re pleased that we’ve got such a reliable IT partner available to help us future-proof the student accommodation.”

Managing Director of First Class Technologies, Richard Hinton, commented: “We help our clients keep up with technology in an ever-changing world. When we first installed the system at Aston Brook Green, students would not have arrived with as much technology. Today, each individual may turn up with multiple devices, including computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles and smart speakers.

We’ve upgraded the system at Aston University Students’ Union to deal with today’s technological requirements and maintain the fast, reliable service that today’s young adults require.”

First Class Technologies is proud to work with many schools, colleges and other educational and commercial organisations.