Essa Academy deploys Meru Networks Wi-Fi system

The network will connect more than 2,000 Apple devices and with no fixed telephones the Wi-Fi network will also carry all of the UK academy’s VoIP traffic

Essa Academy deploys Meru Networks Wi-Fi system

The Essa Academy has deployed a Meru Networks Wi-Fi system based on the Meru Education-Grade (MEG) wireless platform to connect more than 2,000 Apple devices issued to teachers and students.  

Essa Academy in Bolton, UK has become the first school in the UK to issue every student and every teacher with an Apple device, including iPads, iPods and MacBook Airs all running over a Meru wireless network.

Echoing the consumerisation of IT trend in the workplace, the academy has adopted a 1-1 mobile device programme across the school, enabling students to use mobile devices for both school and homework. 

One of the key requirements for the implementation was a reliable, secure, high performance wireless network that covered the entire academy – including both internal and external areas – enabling fast, seamless Wi-Fi access anytime, anywhere for the thousands of devices simultaneously. 

Mark Howell, area director, UK & Ireland for Meru Networks, said: ‘With over 2,000 Apple devices running over a Meru wireless network, we are enabling creative teaching at Essa Academy that uses learner-led techniques for uninterrupted learning. We are also supporting one of the largest deployments of Apple mobile devices in any sector, let alone in education.

‘Supporting over 2,000 devices in a very small area is an extremely difficult thing to achieve both practically and technically. However, with Meru’s virtualised wireless architecture, the Wi-Fi and the delivery of classroom content to all of these devices is completely seamless and hassle free.’

Abdul Chohan, Director at Essa Academy, added: ‘The academy’s goal is to ensure every pupil has access to 21st century learning resources and to move away from buying printed text books. Imagine being in an environment where a student can use a ‘textbook’ that’s completely personalised for them, flick digital pages over, watch video, look at content, listen to audio, interact with it and then capture their own learning – this is what we are hoping to achieve. Our vision means that technology will become embedded as the foundation upon which all teaching and learning takes place.’

Additionally, as there are no fixed telephones, the academy is running all its voice connectivity over the Meru wireless network. All voice runs over the wireless network to the Apple devices. 

Through its ambitious plans of using technology, Essa Academy has not only pioneered the concept of 21st century learning and teaching, but has also reduced its £80,000 photocopying bill down to just £15,000 a year.

The Meru wireless network, deployed and managed by partner Northgate Managed Services, includes AP320i access points and a MC4100 wireless controller.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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