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Texas District Ramps Up 802.11n Wireless To Support 'E-Book' Initiative

Forney Independent School District in Texas is rolling out an 802.11n wireless network district-wide. The effort is being undertaken to support a technology initiative that was implemented in order to improve student access to electronic course materials.

The district's technology initiative was initially piloted in one elementary school over a three-month period. It includes a 1:1 notebook program, in which each student will receive a notebook and electronic course materials, including electronic textbooks, assignments, and assessments. (The impetus for the program was a desire to move to e-books from traditional textbooks.) Supporting the initiative will be a new 802.11n wireless network built on equipment from WLAN security and management solutions provider Bluesocket, including the company's 802.11n 1800 series BlueSecure Access Points.

"A high-speed, reliable 802.11n wireless network that offers location-based tracking and simultaneous user log-in is essential to the success of the E-Book program," said Mark Hunter, network engineer at Forney ISD, in a statement released this week. "We also knew we needed a solution that would provide significant scalability and performance and Bluesocket's vWLAN architecture is ideally suited to meet our needs. At the client level, our teachers are focused on delivering the highest quality education to our students and don't have the time or resources to deal with connectivity issues or slow network performance. The Bluesocket solution is a great fit with simple licensing, massive scalability and robust performance. As well, the ability to integrate with and extend the investment of our existing third-party access points was a huge bonus for the District."

According to Bluesocket, the initial deployment will involve more than 250 1800-series BlueSecure 802.11n Access Points, supporting two high schools. That phase will be completed this summer. The full deployment, which is expected to be completed in the 2010-2011 school year, will include more than 700 BlueSecure 802.11n Access Points.

Forney ISD serves about 7,600 students in 14 schools, including nine elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, and one alternative education center.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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