Wi-Fi underpins digital learning for UK students

Aerohive Networks sees surge in take up of Wi-Fi in UK education establishments with a 25% increase in the first half of 2013

Wi-Fi underpins digital learning for UK students

Aerohive Networks, the provider of controller-less Wi-Fi and cloud-enabled enterprise networking, today (19 June 2013) announced it is now supporting over 250 UK education establishments in meeting the demands of 21st century networking for learning, adding a further 50 new schools to its growing list of UK education customers in the first half of 2013.

Norwich School, Haileybury, Harrogate Grammar School and Christ Church College, University of Oxford are amongst the latest to benefit from Aerohive’s mobility optimised architecture; enabling countless e-learning initiatives, iPad rollouts and BYOD schemes, ensuring seamless connectivity and rigorous security combined with ease of management and control.

Aerohive attributes its success in this sector to its secure, robust and flexible deployment capabilities, the provision of which tops the UK education agenda today. Recent findings released by the British Educational Suppliers Association suggest the state of Wi-Fi in schools is under par with the eLearning Foundation warning that students need fully accessible and reliable Wi-Fi if they are to benefit from digital learning.

Mark Powley, UK director at Aerohive Networks, commented: ‘Wi-Fi is essential for a 21st century network environment; it is a critical access medium. As students and staff look to harness smart devices and mobile apps for more collaborative learning, education establishments must provide the infrastructure to support and enable these digital initiatives, and do so securely, reliably and cost effectively.’

Recent examples include the rollout of over 2,000 iPads at Harrogate Grammar School, while Haileybury has launched its BYOD project using Aerohive. Duncan Spooner-Wells, Director of IT at the school, explained: ‘Pupils were increasingly bringing smart devices onto the network. We needed to enable and control it, which is where the right WLAN came in. With pupils carrying multiple device types and looking to connect to the network with each, we’re now doing what we call ‘self-service BYOD’ to enable simple, secure access to resources that can enhance the learning experience.’

According to Spooner-Wells, having the right control and management capabilities was critical to making this initiative stick. ‘Overheads for managing and securing access for thousands of devices like this shouldn’t be underestimated. With Aerohive we have the infrastructure to cope with the increasing traffic demands, but also a centralised and intelligent approach to management so we can monitor, control access and troubleshoot from one location. This has considerably reduced management complexity and significantly cut man hours for our IT team allowing them to focus on looking after our users.’

Whether its enabling ubiquitous learning environments in further education, school-owned iPad rollouts for primary school students, or the sharing of ebooks, learning apps and the use of Apple TVs in the classroom, the demand for mobility means network infrastructure in schools must change at pace.

Powley concluded: ‘It’s recognised that wireless must become the primary access layer in education today, but it’s more than just connectivity. In order to safeguard pupils in this mobile environment and ensure the best possible experience to support learning, education establishments must be able to balance the need for security and control with enabling the user.

‘For the IT manager, supporting and securing hundreds, often thousands, of devices in this way can be costly and complex, in both man-hours and financial terms. However, the development of cloud-enabled networking, with intelligence and control at the network edge, is negating the cost, scale and security barriers previously holding back mobility in education; helping establishments, like Haileybury, make real-strides in enabling digital learning.’

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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