Networking & Wireless | News

San Francisco USD Upgrades Wireless

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has overhauled its wireless network to provide improved coverage and reliability for 9,000 staff and 56,000 students.

The district has a large number of schools, many of which were built in the 1930s and 1940s. Some of the buildings are as large as a city block and are constructed of lathe and plaster, cinder block concrete and security glass with metal meshing, making it difficult to transmit wireless signals. The legacy wireless network was maxed out, and network management required six different controllers, plus an orchestration agent to manage the controllers. "Things simply grew out of hand," said David Burns, network manager for SFUSD, in a prepared statement.

SFUSD is in the process of replacing its legacy wireless network with a Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi solution, including more than 1,500 Ruckus ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor Smart Wi-Fi dual-band access points (APs). The district is also using Ruckus ZoneDirector 5000 WLAN controllers in a fully redundant configuration to identify the number of devices connected to the wireless network and to define user or device-specific access policies.

SFUSD uses the Ruckus WLAN controllers with its Microsoft Active Directory domain servers to provide user authentication, so students and staff can log on to the network with their device and the predefined user policies are automatically enforced.

According to the company, the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7372 and 7982 APs use adaptive antenna technology that will provide SFUSD with pervasive Wi-Fi coverage and stronger signals, and the district has already reported four times faster speeds compared to the legacy WLAN.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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