More than 500 K-12 schools, colleges, and universities around the world have chosen Ruckus Wireless
Wi-Fi solutions since the beginning of the year--219 in the second quarter of 2010 alone--demonstrating a growing need for reliable Wi-Fi to meet more stringent wireless requirements within the education industry.
Ruckus "Smart Wi-Fi" systems and technology are quickly turning entire districts, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions into state-of-the-art teaching and learning centers. With the growing number of mobile computer labs and laptop carts used to support classroom instruction, as well as the expansive use by students and faculty of laptops, smartphones, and other handheld devices to connect to the Internet, a reliable Wi-Fi network that can support high-density environments has become critical in education.
"The mobile Internet age is causing schools to rethink their Wi-Fi strategy," says David Callisch, VP of marketing for Ruckus Wireless. "Instead of deploying conventional Wi-Fi technology to simply provide best-effort connectivity, the education industry is focusing on new Wi-Fi technology that makes wireless much more ubiquitous and reliable. They key for education is delivering a wireless system that fits into educational budget constraints while adding real enterprise-class value. This is why you're seeing a mad rush to smarter Wi-Fi systems."
The combination of 802.11n Wi-Fi with Ruckus' smart antenna technology provides a more stable wireless infrastructure able to address schools' needs for broader coverage, consistently reliable performance, and the ability to scale to support a high density of users.
Equipped with patented dynamic beamforming and beamsteering technologies, the Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart Wireless LAN (WLAN) system overcomes the limitations and performance inconsistencies that plague conventional Wi-Fi systems. In contrast to traditional Wi-Fi, Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi is capable of automatically adapting Wi-Fi transmissions to support dynamic, interference-rich and high-density environments typical of most schools and universities, to deliver a reliable, engaging experience.
With a robust, Ruckus-powered wireless networking infrastructure, schools can support the growing use of mobile devices while also taking advantage of next-generation applications like VOIP communications, IP-based video, and video surveillance.
St. Vrain Valley School District Standardizes on Ruckus
St. Vrain Valley School District, a 49-school district in Longmont, Colorado, recently replaced a network of Cisco access points sporadically purchased for roughly half its schools with the Ruckus ZoneFlex system. St. Vrain, a 411-square-mile district with 27,000 students, decided to standardize the entire district on Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi after an open search for a wireless LAN system.
"A robust Wi-Fi network is the life-blood of a 21st century education. Schools today must offer and empower anytime, anyplace, any pace, and any device learning opportunities," says Joe McBreen, CIO for St. Vrain Valley School District. "I know this technology will have a tremendous impact on our children's future."
St. Vrain is currently using the Ruckus ZoneFlex system to support the multiple 30-unit laptop carts at its schools, along with the widespread use of laptops, iPads, smartphones, and other devices by students and faculty.
According to McBreen, the district also intends to leverage Ruckus Smart Meshing technology to bring broadband Wi-Fi connectivity to outdoor areas like the sports stadiums and other places where students congregate.
"The day will soon come when schools like ours will need to support one device for every student, and with the Ruckus system in place, we're fully prepared for when that happens," says McBreen.
McBreen explains that in addition to issues stemming from the growing number of students and teachers, traditional Wi-Fi systems also face challenges posed by building construction. "Even newer buildings use a variety of materials in the walls, which can be hard for Wi-Fi signals to penetrate," he says. "In one of our tests, we piled seventy-eight 802.11b, g and n devices onto a single Ruckus 7962 access point and put it through its paces. We simply couldn't make it fail in typical K-12 scenarios, including dense numbers of devices consuming video, file share access, and shared Google Document collaboration."
To provide coverage to all 50+ schools and administrative sites, St. Vrain is installing Ruckus ZoneFlex 802.11n dual-band 7962 APs at each location, along with one ZoneFlex 1000 controller per site. The APs all connect to a 1 GB fiber network wide-area network (WAN) which stems from the main district office. The St. Vrain team will also use the FlexMaster remote system management tool to manage the entire network from the main office.
"We owe it to our kids and to the community to provide the most state-of-the-art tools available to give students the best education possible," says McBreen. "A hard-wired network is just not feasible anymore, given the number of mobile devices in use. But with Ruckus, we now have all the convenience of a wireless network with the performance of a wired network--you can't get much better than that."
Other new Ruckus customers that have selected the ZoneFlex system in Q2 include a large number of K-12 schools, school districts, colleges, and universities around the world including: Tarleton State University, St. Mary's College, Carroll College, Salford University, Sabine Independent School District, NAIF Arab University, Multnomah Bible College, Warrane College, Midway College, Lake Superior State University, Waikohu College, Universidade Anhanguera, Timberlane School District, Sunway University College, Waihi College, White Pine County School District, White River School District, Winward Community College, University School of Nashville, Wessington Springs School District, Windham NH School District, Watertown School District, South Tama County Schools, Falls-Alden Community Schools, BGM Community Schools, Palm Beach County Education Commission, Eckerd College, Indian River County Schools, Hardee County Schools, Desoto County Schools, and Gilchrist County School District.