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Springfield School District Upgrades Wireless Network to 802.11n

Springfield School District 186 in Illinois is in the process of upgrading the wireless LAN in all of its schools and offices to use 802.11n technology, which is faster and more reliable than the district's old wireless network.

The district found that its previous wireless network could not handle the increased number of mobile devices and other wireless equipment being used in classrooms for teaching and learning. According to Brent Qualls, manager of data and information systems for Springfield School District, the district plans to roll out a 1:1 iPad program in its three high schools, which makes wireless network reliability even more critical.

The district evaluated several wireless technology providers, including Cisco, HP, Meru, and Meraki, but ultimately decided to go with Aruba Instant from Aruba Networks. According to information on the company's site, Aruba Instant is designed for Wi-Fi networks that are distributed across multiple sites, and it uses dynamic access point (AP) election, where one of the APs is dynamically elected to manage the other APs.

Springfield School District 186 operates three high schools, seven middle schools, 24 elementary schools, a charter school, an adult education center, a technology center, and business and administrative offices. The school district has already completed the rollout in four of its buildings, where it is supporting about 2,400 devices. In the next few months, the district will continue rolling out the Aruba Instant wireless access points in its other locations. When the deployment is complete, the district will have 1,200 Aruba Instant wireless access points.

"With our old network, we were experiencing connection issues on a daily basis, but in the buildings where we've now deployed Aruba Instant, our wireless issues have disappeared," said Qualls in a prepared statement.

The district is also using Aruba's AirWave Network Management System to monitor and manage the network.

Further information about Aruba Instant is available at

About the Author

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