Networking & Wireless | News

Florida School District Deploys District Wide Wireless LAN

Hillsborough County Public Schools has begun implementation of a district-wide wireless local area network (WLAN) to support the growing number of wireless devices in use by students, faculty, and staff.

The district covers a geographic area the size of Rhode Island and includes 267 schools, but until now has had wireless access at only 20 sites with limited coverage. Following a competitive bid process, the school selected RedCell Technologies to design the new network, which features an 802.11n Instant controllerless WLAN solution from Aruba Networks.

The new network will include over 3,500 Aruba Instant access points (APs) with a virtual controller. It will provide the entire district with high-density WiFi support, seamless roaming, and full survivability in the event of AP or WAN link failures, according to a news release from RedCell. And because the solution is controllerless, it can be deployed more quickly and requires less operational overhead.

"School districts like Hillsborough are embracing Aruba Instant's combination of powerful enterprise capabilities with low cost and simplicity of configuration and management," said Gerry Festa, director of industry solutions marketing for Aruba Networks, in a prepared statement. "Aruba Instant is the ideal solution for these districts, allowing them to effectively manage geographically dispersed networks without the cost of additional IT staff and resources."

The project is being funded through the E-Rate Program, which helps school districts and libraries pay for network infrastructure improvements. The program requires recipients to provide detailed specifications and meet critical project deadlines to qualify for funding, so while the district was waiting for approval, RedCell Technologies set up a pilot project at one of the schools to test the solution. Now that E-Rate has approved the project, RedCell has begun implementation and plans to complete the project within one year to meet the E-Rate Program requirements. A third-party contractor will complete the cabling and AP installations.

"We need to complete a number of schools each month to get everything done within the calendar year deadline," said Sharon Zulli, manager of technology customer service and support for Hillsborough County Public Schools, in a prepared statement. "Thanks to the efforts of RedCell Technologies, we are prepared to roll out the solution to all our schools very quickly."

Further information about Aruba Instant controllerless WLAN solutions can be found at

About the Author

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

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