Networking & Wireless

Burke County Schools Adds Support for Wi-Fi 6 Devices

Earlier this year, a school district in North Carolina refreshed its wireless network, to support devices with Wi-Fi 6 capacity — before they began appearing in classrooms. Burke County Public Schools distributed 1,500 new access points to its 27 schools, using equipment from Cambium Networks (previously Xirrus).

In a recently published case study on the project, district CIO Melanie Honeycutt said the rollout of the new APs would "allow students to connect quicker than some of the older technology" and enable a full classroom to stream videos simultaneously.

The district also uses Cambium's XMS to monitor and troubleshoot the network. Recently, noted Honeycutt, a new school was having a connectivity problem. "With XMS, we were able to immediately see that the issue was clearly not in the wireless network. It was our mobile device management," she explained. "By utilizing the system tools, [the WAN engineer] was able to immediately resolve the issue without having to send a technician into the classroom, which was ideal."

Honeycutt emphasized that while the new APs would "change the performance of the system in every learning environment in the district," they wouldn't change how the learning was done. "The only place it might affect us would be in our elementary school where there are a lot of older devices, which will soon be upgraded. By having a Wi-Fi 6 network in place, that transition will be smooth."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.