New York District Beefs Up Wireless LAN

Penn Yan Central School District in upstate New York reported that it's successfully deployed a new wireless local area network (WLAN) to cover all computers in the district, which enrolls more than 2,000 students in K-12 and adult education programs.

Built around the SonicWall Clean Wireless system, the network includes the SonicWALL E-Class Network Security Appliance (NSA) E5500 and SonicPoint-N access point devices. "Our old ISA firewall was susceptible to failures and missed updates," said Chuck Roach, PYCSD director of technology. "The NSA eliminated those worries and gave us a more solid platform along with high availability."

The network also includes advanced features, such as reassembly-free deep packet inspection (RFDPI) and unified threat management (UTM), that function to encrypt wireless traffic, protect against threats generally faced on a high-speed 802.11n network, and regularly scan and clean traffic to protect against viruses, spyware, and other malware and hacking tools.

"SonicWALL's content filtering is as robust as [the district's former provider] in helping us comply with the [Children's] Internet Protection Act, but at a fraction of the cost," Roach said. "SonicWALL gives us gateway content filtering plus intrusion prevention, anti-virus, anti-spam, and application firewall for about $2,500 a year," which, he noted, is roughly an 83 percent savings from the district's previous network infrastructure. "The first year alone will pay for the hardware, and we will be saving every year after that."

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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.