Networking & Wireless

California District Upgrades Network To Support 5,000 Devices

A California school district is up and running with a new network and wireless infrastructure. Chico Unified School District chose to deploy networking equipment from Brocade and wireless gear from Ruckus Wireless. The district used E-Rate discounts to help fund the work of replacing a legacy network.

The upgrade was needed to support the use of 3,000 Chromebooks in classrooms and an anticipated 2,000 additional devices coming online in the new school year. The school system has nearly 13,000 students.

The new network includes 400-plus Ruckus ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor access points (APs), including the 802.11 ac AP, Ruckus ZoneFlex R710. APs are installed in classrooms and offices, as well as stadiums, parking lots and sports fields. For AP and user management the district is using Ruckus ZoneDirector controllers.

"We realized that with the growth in end-user devices and in-class applications, our network needed to support a very high user density in addition to providing fence-to-fence coverage," said John Vincent, director of technology, in a press release. "With Ruckus, we are able to fully meet user requirements using one AP for every two classrooms."

The implementation also included Brocade ICX 6450, ICX 7750 and ICX 6610 switches.

The first big test of the network came when the schools tried out the Smarter Balanced online assessments earlier this year. "The network performance was flawless," said Patrick Bossetti, network analyst at Chico USD. "In fact, one of our schools has taken out all their wired devices and has gone 100 percent wireless."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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