California District Moves to 802.11n WiFi

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In an effort to boost student learning and opportunities for mobility and collaboration, California's Moorpark Unified School District has rolled out an all-new 802.11n high-speed wireless network across all of its campuses.

For the deployment, the district went with Xirrus to provide hardware to replace "antiquated wired computer connections."

"Our department's mission is to provide our students, staff, parents, and the community with the equipment, training, support in a robust, secure infrastructure that enables student learning and achievement, while preparing the staff and students to meet the ever-changing technology challenges of our global society," said Julie Judd, director of information/education technology services and support at Moorpark Unified, in a statement released this week. "I wanted an environment that would allow teachers and students to collaborate at any site regardless of their home base. We are beginning to deploy laptops for students and teachers and it was a goal that we weren't limited to the classroom walls, as learning happens everywhere, so we elected to begin replacing our wired network classroom connections with wireless mobility. Finding the right solution that would deliver the necessary bandwidth, be easy to install and maintain, and not cost the district an arm and a leg was as easy as calling Xirrus."

Moorpark Unified serves about 7,200 students and employs about 500 teachers and staff in six elementary schools, two middle schools, one comprehensive high school, and one continuation high school, as well as a middle college program.

In other Xirrus news, Washington County Public Schools in Maryland has deployed a wireless network based on Xirrus hardware.

"Our school district has 2,500 employees servicing over 20,000 K-12 students across 46 campuses--selecting the right WiFi solution was critical to our future online learning, not to mention the ability to better utilize our existing facilities and resources," said Dave Mundey, manager of technology and telecommunication services at Washington County Public Schools, in a statement released this week. "Besides providing ample bandwidth and user capacity, we have a unique Novell implementation that no WiFi vendor could get working wirelessly--we tested quite a few WiFi access points, but the only one that worked seamlessly with Novell was Xirrus. Because each Array is able to do authentication, this allows a Novell user to login directly from the client, which means end users do not know they are on a wireless network as it acts just like a wired network."

"The other week we performed our first State of Maryland mandatory testing online," said Arnold E. Hammann, director of information management and instructional technology for the district. "We used the Xirrus wireless solution with laptop carts across the entire district--all went extremely well. A single WiFi Array could support an entire cart of computers doing online testing--and no one could tell the difference between hardwired and wireless laptops. There were many naysayers before the tests saying that it could not be done, but thanks to the Xirrus Arrays we proved that the online testing is possible and far better than wired testing due to the mobility a WiFi deployment affords."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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