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Boise School District Upgrades Wireless to 802.11n

Boise School District has begun upgrading its wireless infrastructure to 802.11n. The Idaho district, which has about 28,000 people--including students, teachers, and other staff--began shifting off its Cisco hardware and migrating onto Aerohive gear back in August 2010.

By upgrading the wireless network, the IT staff said, it's looking to curtail the use of rogue access points added without permission. Aerohive was chosen, according to Infrastructure Technician Bruce McCosh, for its operational simplicity and price. Other vendors considered included Xirrus, Motorola, Aruba Networks, Meru Networks, and Adtran.

"Compared with other WLANs, Aerohive was far less complicated. It's easy to configure and forget it," he said. "I only have so many hours in the day, and so Aerohive's simplicity of use was very appealing to me."

Ultimately, he added, finances drove the decision. "We have historically been an exclusive Cisco shop, but when I looked at all the options--all of the Cisco APs and controllers--it came down to a financial decision. For the full district-wide deployment, an all-Aerohive solution made the best economic sense."

Currently, the district has installed about 78 802.11n access points consisting of HiveAP 320s and HiveAP 120s. That's expected to grow by several hundred over the next five to six years.

The district is using Aerohive's HiveManager Network Management System. Unlike a traditional wireless controller, the HiveManager isn't necessary for the operation of the wireless network; but it provides centralized functionality for managing access points, creating network policies, and doing firmware upgrades of the access points.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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