Meru Networks has announced that public school Bradfield College has completed the first phase of its deployment of Meru Education-grade 802.11ac wireless technology throughout the school’s extensive site in Berkshire, UK. The network will support up to 3,000 staff and student devices.
Bradfield College is part of the Rugby Group, which includes Harrow School, Wellington College and Charterhouse School. A co-educational school for 13 to 18 year olds, Bradfield selected Meru’s Gigabit Wi-Fi when its existing Aruba network failed to deliver seamless coverage across the school’s mix of traditional and modern facilities and was unable to deliver sufficient capacity to meet the demands of more than 1,000 pupils, staff and contractors, which interrupted learning.
“Our previous Wi-Fi network caused some frustration with coverage dropping in and out depending on where you were in the school, and was particularly problematic in some of our older buildings, which date back over 150 years and have solid walls,” explained Trevor Benstock, Director of IT Services, Bradfield College.
“The number of devices connecting to the network was also causing us headaches, with staff and pupils using up to three devices each, often simultaneously. That’s potentially thousands of devices all logging on at once.”
As one of the UK’s leading public schools, Bradfield College prides itself on offering students world-class educational facilities – including sporting, music, drama and dance – and believes a world-class Wi-Fi network has to be at the core of education today.
Benstock added: “In a fast moving world, just as education cannot stand still, neither can the technology that supports it. Our staff expect it, parents expect it and the students certainly expect fast, reliable Wi-Fi to be part of their life.”
The school’s IT team worked alongside Meru to deploy more than 200 Meru AP832 802.11ac access points, with up to 10 in some buildings, and two main controllers. Phase I of the project has seen the Meru Wi-Fi installed in all of the primary buildings used for teaching and some of the boarding houses.
The network is also being used to support Firefly, the school’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which enables students and teachers to organise their homework and create and access resources from anywhere.
Phase II will include external wireless access covering the playing fields and the school’s recently renovated Greek Theatre, which plays host to performances during the summer term. In the future, the IT department will look at integrating the Wi-Fi with other systems such as CCTV.
“While Bradfield College is a traditional school with a long history and extremely impressive academic and sporting record, its ethos and teaching embraces the latest technology, from mobile learning to online portals. Unfortunately, its Wi-Fi was not fit for purpose and causing frustrations for staff, pupils and visitors,” added Mark Howell, country manager for UK and Ireland at Meru.
“There are still many educational establishments out there suffering unnecessary Wi-Fi problems due to outdated technology, so we’re delighted to be adding another school to our list of 4,000 in the UK and Ireland.”