Video Applications and Wireless LAN Launched at RIT

University to use new VideoStream for deaf and hard-of-hearing students

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A. Sue Weisler

Jeanne Casares

Rochester Institute of Technology will use its new media-ready wireless capabilities to deliver a variety of new applications to students and faculty, including mobile, closed-captioned video for its deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

“The Cisco media-ready wireless network delivers converged data, voice and video services anywhere on campus that serves as the foundation to support a growing number of mobile video and voice applications that can make a positive difference by enhancing the collaborative learning experience for students, which ultimately can help them succeed,” says Jeanne Casares, RIT chief information officer.

Casares was part of a telecast with Cisco leaders to showcase the technology being piloted on campus. In fall 2009, RIT completed a large-scale wireless project, the Cisco Unified Wireless Network including, 3,400 access points, 15 wireless services modules and Cisco’s Wireless Control System.

Cisco also introduced VideoStream, a new set of features for the Cisco Unified Wireless Network that optimizes the performance of multimedia over the wireless and wired network and supports the medianet platform. RIT is one of the first colleges to adapt the technology, Casares says.

RIT intends to use the Cisco VideoStream technology to enhance students’ use of video relay services that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate over video telephones with hearing people in real-time, via a sign-language interpreter. RIT is also exploring capabilities for students to use laptops and other mobile devices to view close-captioned lectures, visual signing and transcription services in real-time.

The university has tested additional applications, including voice over Internet Protocol services for faculty, using Cisco Unified Wireless 7925 IP Phones, and plans to deploy additional voice and video services over the network in the near future.

“The ability to deliver video and multimedia applications over the wireless network—with the same quality and performance that users are accustomed to receiving via a wired network—has inherent challenges,” says Ray Smets, vice president and general manager for the Cisco Wireless Networking Business Unit. “RIT is a perfect example of how the right wireless infrastructure not only delivers key applications for the broader population of students, faculty and IT staff, but can also be the launching pad for the innovation of new applications like the video lectures that RIT is offering to its deaf and hard-of-hearing students.”

Note: Video available for this story