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Networking & Wireless | News

UK School Upgrades WiFi To Support 1-to-1 iPad Initiative and BYOD

The Duston School in Northamptonshire, England has upgraded its wireless network to support its bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and Apple iPad 1-to-1 initiatives.

The school is in the midst of its 1-to-1 iPad rollout. Phase one has been completed and saw the implementation of 150 of the devices for whole class use. Phase two is currently in the planning stage and will introduce iPads for all students and teachers. The school also has an existing BYOD program for its sixth form students. However, the school's previous wireless network wasn't robust enough to cope with the large number of connections, and the school needed to upgrade before implementing phase two of its iPad program.

The school selected a Meru Education-grade (MEG) wireless solution from Meru Networks. The new network includes 48 Meru AP332 dual-radio, dual-band 802.11n WLAN access points throughout the school. According to Lucy Walshaw, information and communications technology systems and delivery leader at the school, students and staff are much happier with the upgraded network. "Before, we had regular, heartfelt complaints about sluggish performance or being unable to connect, as staff had lost confidence in the WiFi," she said in a prepared statement. "Now we have nothing but praise!"

According to information released by Meru Networks, the school's old WiFi network suffered from dropped connections and poor performance, and "the school's passive infrared (PIR) sensors also caused channel interference with the WiFi." The Meru Education-grade solution uses single-channel architecture, which is designed to prevent channel conflicts, enabling the PIR sensors to co-exist peacefully with the mobile devices. The school recently conducted staff iPad training in the library and all 90 devices were able to connect to the network simultaneously without issues.

With the new wireless network in place, the school plans to begin phase two of its 1-to-1 iPad initiative. When it's complete, the network will support approximately 2,000 iPads as well as 500 other wireless devices.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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