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New Jersey District Centralizes Wireless Network

East Brunswick School District (EBSD) of New Jersey has replaced its existing IT network in an effort to build in affordable redundancy and centralized control. The new system provides wireless access to all 11 district schools from a single point in the district's administration building.

"We wanted an architecture that would operate across the district without high additional costs per school," said Tinos Rousos, senior network manager at EBSD. "By wirelessly enabling the schools, we'd have more flexibility to give students the computer and network access they need for group studies and science labs."

To accomplish this, the district selected a wireless LAN system by Aerohive Networks. Built around the company's HiveAP network access point hardware, the new architecture is designed to offer reliability through the device's ability to share network management and control duties by self-organizing with other HiveAPs. "With the Aerohive architecture, we know that if an AP goes down, for whatever reason, we don't lose wireless capability. The network will still run strong, and we'll still have access to all of our resources," said Rousos.

Anchored by five HiveAPs installed in the district administrative building, district-wide wireless and cabled Ethernet networking is controlled by Aerohive's HiveManager Network Management System from a single console. This system allows segmented network access for the purpose of restricting sharing to necessary functions, a feature also desired by the district. "For instance, Hammarskjold has its own video security system, which runs on the school network. With a controller-based architecture, all of that traffic would have had to come across our Wide Area Network (WAN). However, with Aerohive, all of that video traffic will remain within the school's network and won't burden our WAN," said Rousos. EBSD's Hammarskjold Middle School was the first to receive the rollout.

Cost control was also cited as a reason for implementing the new network structure. "Many vendors required hardware controllers that were not appropriate for our needs and would bring additional costs," Rousos said.

East Brunswick Public Schools of Middlesex County, NJ, serves approximately 9,000 students in eight elementary school, two middle/junior high schools and one high school.

About the Author

Evan Tassistro is a freelance writer based in San Diego, CA.

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