Aerohive's Bonjour Gateway Helps School District Enable One-on-One Teaching Via iPads

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — June 13, 2012

Aerohive Networks, a provider of controller-less Wi-Fi and cloud-enabled networking, says that the Rowan-Salisbury School System, a North Carolina school district, has implemented Aerohive's wireless LAN networking solution to manage the influx of new mobile devices, tablets and laptops.

The sprawling Rowan-Salisbury School System is comprised of 35 schools, with more than 20,000 students and roughly 3,000 employees. As the largest employer in Rowan County, the school district needed to accommodate a rapid influx of Apple iPads, iPod Touch devices, laptops and other popular Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices, on its wireless network.

Rowan-Salisbury school district is implementing Aerohive's new, patent-pending Bonjour Gateway to make networks service-aware and make BYOD with Apple devices a native part of every network. Aerohive's Bonjour Gateway feature manages and controls Apple service availability (such as AirPrint, AirPlay, file sharing, collaboration applications, etc.) across an entire enterprise-class network.

In addition to this growing wave of devices, the district's technology team wanted to provide its staff and students with an enriched learning experience by letting them use the same devices in the classroom as they use at home, and this required upgrading its WLAN.

"Before implementing Aerohive's solution, we were forced to provide select rooms with a laptop cart with an access point," said Phil Hardin, executive director for technology for the Rowan-Salisbury School System. "Classrooms without these carts were unable to have wireless access. We quickly realized we needed to change this dated process in order to enable our students and staff to expand learning opportunities beyond the classroom."

The IT team at Rowan-Salisbury school district evaluated three other wireless solutions from other vendors before selecting Aerohive. They found the other products to be too complicated to manage and not cost effective for a meager school budget.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System turned to Aerohive with its cooperative control access points (AP) running 802.11n technology that did not require network controllers or overlay networks. Unlike controller-based solutions where there is a single point of failure, Aerohive APs work together to recover from component failures without the need to deploy redundant systems. In selecting Aerohive, the school district made a bold decision to completely change WLAN architectures.

"We're very excited about Aerohive's Bonjour Gateway feature, because we use iPads in our one-to-one program," Hardin said. "We use separate VLANs for students and teachers, and that security separation makes it difficult to fully use AirPlay and AirPrint in the classroom. With this new Bonjour Gateway feature, it integrates the technologies we've already chosen into our learning environment."

The IT team at Rowan-Salisbury worked closely with SLAIT Consulting to deploy Aerohive's technology throughout the school system. SLAIT is an information technology consulting services firm specializing in delivering customized IT solutions. A close partner with Aerohive, SLAIT was instrumental in the implementation process.

"From the very first time we deployed Aerohive's wireless LAN solution back in 2010, everything worked flawlessly," said Hardin. "We knew back then that we could depend on this product to scale and provide us with the exemplary service and bandwidth needed as Rowan-Salisbury School System continues to grow."

Since deploying Aerohive's wireless LAN solution as a pilot program in one school in 2010, Rowan-Salisbury school district has now expanded this implementation to include all 35 campuses. Additional details about the schoool district's experience is available here.

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