Networking & Wireless | News

Europe's First Education Cloud to be Implemented for all Northern Ireland Primary Schools

All 1,200 primary schools in Northern Ireland will now have access to Europe's first Education Cloud, a network providing WiFi connectivity to over 350,000 students and teachers. The new network is part of the Classroom 2000 (C2k) project, whose mission is to provide the infrastructure and services to support the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in Northern Ireland schools.

The network will consist of 10,000 wireless access points in the schools themselves and 28 Meru Networks MC4200 controllers located in a central data center. It will provide schools with up to 200 Mbps of bandwidth over superfast telecom connections between the schools and the data center. The network will be scalable to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of schools into the future, and it will also provide centralized backup and archival services.

The Education Cloud will provide schools with secure access to online resources 24/7 from a wide range of devices, including smart phones, iPads, tablets, and laptops. School staff will be able to install and provision the access points as needed, and teachers and students will be able access applications, educational resources, and other tools through a learning portal.

"The new service has been designed to recognize the educational requirements of schools in Northern Ireland, deliver technology-driven learning environments, and incorporate the very latest innovations in technology," said Jimmy Stewart, director of Classroom 2000 (C2k), in a prepared statement.

Northgate Managed Services won the $266 million contract with the Education Network for Northern Ireland (ENNI) to provide design, implementation, management, and support of the network over the next five years. The network infrastructure will use technology from Meru Networks, based in Sunnyvale, CA.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].