Rugby School selects Xirrus Wi-Fi solution

Network design had to overcome RF difficulties caused by the age and layout of buildings; Xirrus cloud management and application control also deployed

Rugby School selects Xirrus Wi-Fi solution

Xirrus has installed a Wi-Fi network throughout the historic boarding houses of Rugby School in Warwickshire, UK. The School selected Xirrus over competitive solutions based upon tests for speed, reliability, security and cloud management.

The project is designed to support Rugby School’s commitment to the modern student learning experience by providing pupils with fast, reliable and secure Wi-Fi connectivity. The Xirrus Wi-Fi installation includes cloud management and application control to ensure the School can simply manage accessibility, bandwidth and security.

The School educates more than 800 day pupils and boarders across 16 historic houses. The oldest building of the current school dates to 1809, while its most recent boarding house was converted in 2003.

Every classroom at Rugby School uses an interactive electronic whiteboard to create a high-tech, Wi-Fi enabled learning environment. Every pupil owns a laptop in addition to several mobile devices and consequently the Wi-Fi network needs to support thousands of devices connecting simultaneously.

The School wanted to ensure students had access to online services – such as video streaming and some social media – but within a managed environment. As such, the School uses Xirrus Application Control, which prioritises critical applications and blocks restricted applications from the network during school and study hours.

Administrators have full control and management of the network despite increasing numbers of devices or unpredictable application use. They can manage usage by time, location and application to ensure students only use devices on the Wi-Fi network for learning applications in class or during study periods.

“Internet access is crucial in supporting studies so it is important that we make the right technology choices on behalf of our students,” said Andrew Waples, IT Director, Rugby School.

“We pride ourselves on excellence in everything we do and that applies to our selection of providers. In this case, we went to great lengths to ensure whoever we selected would be the very best. Xirrus proved itself to be a clear leader in performance in our initial trials, and it was quickly obvious it stood head and shoulders above the competition.”

Rugby School presented a challenge for Wi-Fi coverage due to the age and construction of the buildings, with many being Georgian and Victorian. Xirrus designed a Wi-Fi network that operates despite the difficult structures to make sure pupils have good network access across all the Houses.

The previous network, in place for five years, was no longer able to handle the newest mobile devices on the market, so Xirrus built a new network enabling both 2.4 and 5GHz access, with more than 70% of radios supporting 5GHz.

“Rugby School is a challenging environment because of the age and layout of many of its buildings. We needed to ensure the network is accessible throughout the boarding houses, but adding in management to control when, where and what students can access,” said Shane Buckley, CEO at Xirrus.

“Xirrus Wi-Fi adapts for future needs, with software programmable radios, and meets all of the School’s current needs by supporting 5GHz devices, which optimises the network performance. Beyond that, we are helping the School reduce the total cost of ownership by avoiding the use of fixed Access Points that would need to replaced to accommodate future technologies.”

Phase two of the project will see a Xirrus Wi-Fi network installed in the main School buildings to deliver better internet access and management in the classroom.

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