Ontario and Texas Districts Adopt Wireless Network Access Control

Two districts--one in Ontario and the other in Texas--have adopted the same model of wireless network access security appliance from Avenda Systems. Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board in the province of Ontario and Mount Pleasant Independent School District in Texas have both deployed the eTIPS model 5010. The appliance manages policies across access methods, operating systems, managed and unmanaged endpoints, and identity stores.

Huron-Superior has about 6,000 users in 26 schools. According to Derek Warmington, network administrator, the IT department was challenged with authenticating and centrally managing network access for its many wireless users, while keeping devices with out-of-date protection from infecting the network. The district sought a solution to enforce policies for users with district-issued computers as well as those brought in by students.

"Avenda is the only affordable solution that we have seen that secures our wireless networks and is easy to manage," said Warmington. "In the future, we will turn on health checking to keep certain devices off the network that do not meet our current protection levels based on set policy requirements. In addition to supporting all of our existing platforms, we can also create policies to manage iPhone authentication on the network, as well."

eTIPS acts as the district's RADIUS server and integrates with a Meru wireless LAN and 802.1X authentication system. The eTIPS solution works with a Microsoft Active Directory server to provide identity-based access to secure the wireless LAN and manage network usage.

Mount Pleasant moved to the eTIPS appliance from a ConSentry Network product after the latter suddenly went out of business in August 2009. The district took advantage of an Avenda trade-in program.

"Avenda Systems went out of their way to provide an easy transition from ConSentry and I was very impressed by all of the powerful features offered in eTIPS, that I did not see in our previous solution," said Noe Arzate, director of technology for the district. "In addition to delivering a superior solution, Avenda worked with us to meet our aggressive price point since we had not anticipated ConSentry's abrupt announcement."

Avenda is offering a migration program that includes a trade-in offer (up to $20,000 with the purchase of a comparable Avenda appliance) and design and implementation assistance.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.