Networking & Wireless | News

Massachusetts District Overhauls WiFi To Support iPad Initiative

As part of a 1:1 iPad initiative, Millis Public Schools in Massachusetts is rolling out a new WiFi network that will support dozens of devices in classrooms and up to 150 in hallways simultaneously.

The program is currently in the pilot stage but will ramp up to support students and teachers across the entire district. The network, provided by Xirrus, will support hundreds of devices without requiring access points to be installed in each classroom--a money-saving consideration for the district.

But as Grace Magley, director of educational technology for Millis PS, explained, saving on costs wasn't the only consideration. The new network had to be one that would meet the district's heavy technical requirements for dense concentrations of tablet devices.

"We have always used technology in our district to help leverage teaching and learning programs," Magley said in a statement released this week. "We were looking to embrace a personalized learning initiative and needed to upgrade to a wireless solution that could support our impending wireless saturation requirements of 30 devices in every classroom, in addition to the devices brought from home. Our hallways have up to 150 devices online at any given time, so it was crucial for us to find a wireless network that could handle a 1:1 initiative while also saving us money over time. Of the five wireless vendors we researched, Xirrus was the only one that could offer a solid and reliable solution to support the density demands we required without having to place an AP in every classroom."

The district's iPad initiative will eventually impact about 1,700 faculty members and students. The Millis PS serves more than 1,500 students in one high school, one middle school, an elementary school, and a preschool. It's proposed fiscal 2012 budget is a little more than $12 million.

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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