Ruckus Wireless announced today that its new 802.11ac products and technology have been selected by a number of schools, school districts and colleges and universities across the United States to tackle the growing demands for more reliable, faster and higher capacity Wi-Fi services needed to transform education in today’s classrooms.
“The traditional educational experience for students and teachers has gone digital and online,” said Will Kerr, technology director for the Reynoldsburg City School District in Ohio, the latest school district to standardise on Ruckus 802.11ac products and technology.
“Wi-Fi has become the primary means of connectivity, and it absolutely must operate as reliably as any utility. Conventional Wi-Fi technology was never really designed with this in mind.”
Located just east of Columbus, OH, the Reynoldsburg City School District has now replaced its legacy Aruba 802.11n Wi-Fi system with 405 new Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 802.11ac Smart Wi-Fi access points.
“Our existing Wi-Fi system was costly, difficult to manage and simply couldn’t keep up with the client capacities we needed to support for delivering a 21st Century education,” said Kerr. “This drove us to the R700.”
According to Ruckus, the ZoneFlex R700 is the first and only dual-band, three-stream indoor 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point (AP) for the new 802.11ac standard to integrate patented Ruckus BeamFlex+ adaptive antenna array technology. BeamFlex+ helps to significantly extend the range and speed of indoor Wi-Fi networks, providing unmatched reliability and gigabit-class Wi-Fi performance.
Supporting more than 7,500 students and faculty across 14 schools within this 14 square mile school district, Reynoldsburg’s move to the 802.11ac standard was driven in large part by its one-to-one initiatives to provide Chromebooks to students and staff, as well as the explosive growth in the use of Wi-Fi for a variety of purposes, ranging from guest access to student information systems and back-end administrative applications.
According to Kerr, after evaluating competitive WLAN systems from suppliers including Aruba, Cisco Meraki and HP, Reynoldsburg standardised on the Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11ac R700 system.
Taking only three days to deploy, Ruckus ZoneFlex R700 APs have now been installed across District classrooms in 15 buildings housing pre-school (kindergarten), elementary, middle and high schools.
“After evaluating everything out there, Ruckus was the clear Wi-Fi choice as it was the only network infrastructure system that was ideally suited to address the unique requirements for Wi-Fi in education,” Kerr said.
The new Ruckus infrastructure also works seamlessly with the District’s iBoss network security system and Active Directory authentication domain to automate policy enforcement and content filtering based on user authentication. The entire Wi-Fi network for the District is centrally managed using Ruckus ZoneDirector 5000 controllers, located within Reynoldsburg’s network operations centre (NOC).
“With Ruckus, we were able to install fewer, but more industrial strength APs that could cover additional locations that I just couldn’t resolve with other suppliers. So, my original two-year deployment plan using a cloud-based Wi-Fi alternative that forced us into a subscription model could be reduced to a one-year plan, and at a substantially lower cost. This was a key deciding factor in selecting Ruckus over other cloud-based solutions we were considering,” Kerr concluded.
“We are seeing the migration to the new 802.11ac standard accelerating at a faster pace than the adoption of the 802.11n standard when it was first introduced,” said Wendy Cartee, vice president of marketing for Ruckus Wireless. “Within our first quarter product shipments, our 802.11ac Wi-Fi systems have quickly eclipsed the run rate for three-stream 802.11n products.”
In addition to Reynoldsburg City School District, many more US K-12 and higher education institutions have selected Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products and technology, including the San Francisco Unified School District, plus:
• Barnstable Public Schools District (MA)
• Marshfield Public School District, Marshfield (MA)
• Bellarmine University (KY)
• Milford School District, Milford (NH)
• Coatesville Area School District, Chester County (PA)
• Oak Park Unified School District (CA)
• Community High School District 117, Lake Villa (IL)
• Pickerington Local School District (OH)
• Compton Unified School District (CA)
• Santee School District (CA)
• Drew University (NJ)
• Scranton School District, Scranton (PA)
• Englewood Public School District, Englewood (NJ)
• Waldwick School District (NJ).
In addition to Reynoldsburg City School District, a number of UK education institutions have selected Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products and technology, including:
• Broughton Business College
• Charter School (London)
• Dulwich College
• London Royal College of Music
• Newport Grammar
• Woking College.