Networking & Wireless | News

King of Wessex Academy Deploys Secure Wireless Network To Enable BYOD

Kings of Wessex Academy, of Cheddar, Somerset in the United Kingdom, will deploy a secure wireless network that enables Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) access for both educators and students in order to increase e-learning options.

An Aruba wireless network has been selected for the deployment utilizing the ClearPass Access Management System to allow students and teachers to connect with a variety of devices.

The ClearPass system works by centralizing access policies across an entire network. User and device access is automated to enforce distinctions in access privileges based on user identity and device status.

The school, with enrollment of nearly 1,200 students aged 13-18, is known for its design technology, mathematics, and science curricula. The move is expected to increase opportunities in those fields for both students and teachers, within school itself and at home via a variety of devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets that can be pressed into service for learning.

Already beginning with the new school year, all students are equipped with a netbook, a policy that added an additional 300 devices to the school's network for each grade.

To facilitate that number of additional devices, and to allow other devices to be added to the mix, the school opted to proceed with the new network to allow both school-issued and personal mobile devices.

"At the same time as upgrading our APs we also brought in ClearPass, allowing the students to self-enroll on the Wi-Fi," said Chris Oakley, IT manager at Kings of Wessex Academy. "That's been brilliant--they see a browser page that looks like the school network, they just have to agree to the terms and conditions and enter the username and password that they already have for classroom use. For example, we have more than 300 sixth-formers with a lot of self-study periods--and while there are a number of computers in the library, if they want to work in their own social areas, they are now able to do so."

The network is expected to allow new learning opportunities. Already, the school's Mathematics department was able to take advantage of QR codes to allow students to link to video clips online to secure help with math techniques and problem solving.

More than 40 single-band access points (APs) were substituted out during a single day as part of the transition. In their place, the school now has dual-band equivalents capable of supporting 802.11a at 5 GHz.

The new network required no change to the existing wired backbone. The network's new Aruba AP-125 dual-band APs were compatible with an already existing Aruba mobility controller.

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