Meru Networks, the global innovation leader in wireless infrastructure for the All-Wireless Enterprise, today announced that it is delivering wireless LAN solutions for a milestone deployment that will serve as a model for schools across the country. The School District of Philadelphia, the 7th largest school district in the country, servicing over 210,000 students across 278 schools, is using the Meru Wireless LAN System to deliver mobile Internet access, educational applications, and instructional management tools to students, administrators and faculty in its School of the Future.
First announced in September of 2003, the School of the Future is a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and Microsoft that seeks to transform education using technology. The initial prototype School of the Future, a secondary school located in West Philadelphia, opened today to ultimately serve 750 students in a state-of-the-art, high tech facility that will be both a laboratory and the model for schools nationwide. The primary goal of the School of the Future project is to infuse technology into every aspect of the educational environment, better preparing students for the future workforce and optimizing their entry into the colleges, universities and technical schools of their choice.
The School District of Philadelphia determined early on that wireless network infrastructure would play a critical role in this initiative, as it could deliver the mobility and fast, easy access to multimedia learning applications, online curriculum and instructional content, necessary for an "anytime, anywhere" learning environment. Wireless also has the added benefit of eliminating many of the costs associated with hard wires throughout the schools. The District identified the Meru Networks Wireless LAN System as the ideal foundation for this innovative deployment.
"A robust wireless infrastructure is at the heart of our School of the Future initiative," commented Bob Westall, Executive Director for Information Technology, School District of Philadelphia. "The benefits of wireless for mobility, flexibility and cost savings were a given. Beyond this, the Meru WLAN System afforded additional, unique benefits including its ability to handle high density environments such as auditoriums, libraries, cafeterias and classrooms, where wireless users will congregate and want to simultaneously access the network. We were also impressed with Meru's QoS capabilities which will enable the School of the Future to handle converged voice, data and video over the wireless network as we expand our applications in the future to include media rich content delivery and remote classroom training and to facilitate communication between instructors, students and administrators."
Meru's Wireless LAN System, which combines Meru controllers, access points and the unique, four-radio Meru Radio Switch, has already emerged as the WLAN solution of choice for the education market, with over 28 K-12 and 42 higher education institutions currently deploying the Meru solution.
Meru won the School of the Future deployment through its partner, Avaya (NYSE: AV), a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services. Avaya provides a variety of telephony equipment to the school district and in conjunction with Integral Wireless Solutions of Blandon, Pennsylvania, constructed the wireless network. Both Meru Networks and Integral Wireless Solutions are members of Avaya's DeveloperConnection program.
"We are excited to be part of this groundbreaking School of the Future implementation," said Kevin Cook, vice president, North America Avaya. "Working with technology partners like Microsoft and Meru Networks, we can help forward-thinking educational institutions like the School District of Philadelphia achieve their goal of using technology to enable an optimal learning environment."
Said Ihab Abu-Hakima, president and CEO of Meru Networks, "The School of the Future deployment validates the growing trend towards the All-Wireless Campus -- a trend we identified some time ago and have been delivering solutions for during the past 12-18 months. With our innovative approach and the only platform that can deliver the required performance, pervasive coverage and quality of service needed to enable the All-Wireless Enterprise, Meru continues to be the vendor of choice for landmark deployments like this."