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Networking & Wireless | News

Reynoldsburg City SD Updates Wireless Network

Reynoldsburg City School District in Ohio has upgraded its wireless network from 802.11n to the latest 802.11ac standard, which is designed to provide more reliable, faster and higher capacity WiFi service than its predecessor.

The wireless network at Reynoldsburg City Schools serves 7,500 students and faculty across 14 schools. The district's 1-to-1 initiative provides Chromebooks for students and staff, and they use the wireless network to access educational applications, a student information system and administrative applications. The district also provides guest access to the wireless network. The existing 802.11n wireless network couldn't keep up with the demand from so many devices, so the district decided to upgrade to the latest technology.

After evaluating systems from Aruba, Cisco Meraki and HP, they selected a Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 802.11ac system with 405 ZoneFlex R700 Smart WiFi access points. The ZoneFlex R700 is a dual-band, three-stream access point that uses the Ruckus BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna array technology. According to the company, "BeamFlex+ helps to significantly extend the range and speed of indoor WiFi networks" to provide high reliability and gigabit-class performance. Reynoldsburg City Schools selected a Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 802.11ac system.

According to Will Kerr, technology director for the district, the Ruckus system enabled the district to speed up its deployment plan while saving money. "With Ruckus, we were able to install fewer but more industrial strength APs that could cover additional locations that I just couldn't resolve with other suppliers," he said in a prepared statement. "So, my original two-year deployment plan using a cloud-based WiFi alternative that forced us into a subscription model could be reduced to a one-year plan, and at a substantially lower cost."

The district uses the Ruckus infrastructure with its iBoss network security system and Microsoft Active Directory authentication domain "to automate policy enforcement and content filtering based on user authentication," according to the company. The district also uses Ruckus ZoneDirector 5000 controllers located in its network operations center to centrally manage the wireless network.

According to Ruckus, an increasing number of school districts, colleges and universities are moving to 802.11ac technology to provide more reliable, faster and higher capacity WiFi services. "WiFi has become the primary means of connectivity, and it absolutely must operate as reliably as any utility," said Kerr in a prepared statement. "Conventional WiFi technology was never really designed with this in mind."

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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