New Program Makes School Wireless Networks Available for Less Than $40 per Student

"Wireless 4 Schools," a new program from cloud-based wireless networking company Meraki, has announced it will offer K-12 schools and districts complete wireless LANs for $40 or less per student, depending on student population. With an 80 percent E-rate rebate from the federal government, qualifying schools could realistically upgrade to a full 802.11 wireless network for about $8 per student.

The company noted that it has several partners certified to assist clients with their installation needs, and although these services are not included in the purchase price, the initial investment will easily generate multiple returns the first year in terms of time saved and broadband width conserved. A network purchase, which also bundles several additional features with its network, includes:

  • Meraki MR-14 access points;
  • 3-year license to Meraki's Enterprise cloud controller;
  • Content filtering;
  • Per-user bandwidth shaping;
  • Mesh for simplified deployment;
  • Multiple virtual networks to keep students, faculty, and guests separate;
  • Quality of service (QoS) for video surveillance cameras; and
  • Business-class technical support.

The cost breakdown of the Meraki network for K-12 schools is such that a LAN serving a school of 100 students would cost $4,000, or $40 per student. A school serving 1,000 students would purchase a network for less than $40,000, or a per-student cost of less than $40. The company also said it guarantees no hidden costs, such as support and maintenance contracts, management appliances, or per-feature licenses.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.