Wireless Networking

School Districts Upgrade to WiFi 6

Hamilton Southeastern Schools and Octorara Area School District are two early adopters of WiFi 6 hardware to improve their wireless network capabilities.

Aruba access points

On Sept. 16, nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance launched the Wi-Fi Certified 6 program — and several educational institutions are already using WiFi 6 hardware to improve their wireless network capabilities, according to wireless technology provider Aruba. The company recently announced more than 400 educational institutions have adopted the company's WiFi 6 access points (AP), which first became available in November 2018.

WiFi 6, which is also known as 802.11ax, is the next generation standard of wireless connectivity. The new version of the standard is designed to help institutions meet the needs of mobile devices while reducing costs and energy consumption and accommodating Internet of Things multiprotocol connectivity.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana and Octorara Area School District in Pennsylvania are two early adopters of Aruba's WiFi 6 APs.

Indiana's Southeastern Elementary School, a brand-new school in the Hamilton Southeastern Schools district, has designed its K-4 classrooms and outdoor courtyard learning spaces utilizing Aruba's WiFi 6 APs to provide connectivity that can handle Apple TVs, school-provided iPads for each student and other mobile devices. The non-traditional elementary school has an open concept design that includes pods, or neighborhoods, of classrooms that are circled around common areas for easy collaboration.

"When you're talking about 30 iPads per classroom at a minimum, and large groups of 100 students collaborating in common spaces, you're talking about an infrastructure that has to accommodate this significant increase in density with improved performance and reliability," said Tom Kouns, director of infrastructure technologies at Hamilton Southeastern Schools. "The Aruba WiFi 6-based infrastructure is critical to enabling the kind of 21st century learning environment we've envisioned."

At Octorara Area School District, Aruba's WiFi 6 APs are part of a district network upgrade project. The district uses a 1:1 initiative that delivers Chromebooks and iPads to each student. Students and staff are also able to bring their own devices into the district's four schools.

"We had an opportunity to capitalize on E-Rate and district funding to future-proof our network with the latest technology on the market and to be amongst the first globally to do so. My goals as a technology leader aligned perfectly with those of our superintendent to provide our staff and students the chance to push and explore educational possibilities without limitations," said Robert Czetli, director of IT for Octorara Area School District.

For more information about Aruba's WiFi hardware options, visit the Aruba site.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@1105media.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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