Marin County Office of Education
Bay Area Office of Education Meets Diverse Wireless Networking Requirements across 19 School Districts

Why Aerohive Was Selected

  • Intuitive and self-explanatory network management from HiveManager, even without deep network expertise
  • Cost-effective wireless solution with ease of upgrades and expansion
  • Flexible solution allows IT staff to set controls and configuration to accommodate variety of specialized user needs
  • Rock-solid and reliable solution enables MCOE to host large events and thousands of devices at one time

Bay Area Office of Education Meets Diverse Wireless Networking Requirements across 19 School Districts

About Marin County Office of Education

The Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) offers programs and services to students and teachers in Marin County, located near San Francisco, California. MCOE provides centralized services to 19 school districts and supports technology and educational services to the County Office and numerous schools under its jurisdiction, including special needs classrooms and alternative schools.

With 13 physical locations within a 40-mile radius, MCOE is tasked to support a variety of student needs and diverse physical environments, including numerous alternative education sites and Walker Creek Ranch. The 1700-acre ranch is home to Marin County Outdoor School and Conference Center, welcoming more than 5,000 students each year for outdoor education, as well as opening the facility for outside groups. MCOE has approximately 400 employees and the Information Services department continues to expand its technical support and services, enhance existing programs and advance technology and telecommunications.

The Challenge

MCOE had deployed Aruba Wi-Fi several years ago, but the coverage was not comprehensive and the network was very slow and could no longer handle the growing level of density. To handle the increased traffic, MCOE started looking at new solutions to upgrade its wireless network, and expand to all classroom environments.

Although there is a large number of schools throughout the county, MCOE only has jurisdiction over the physical spaces it owns, so many schools might have a wireless solution in place controlled by separate staff. However, there were several schools where a special needs classroom operated by MCOE needed a separate Wi-Fi solution, and that solution needed to be managed remotely for optimal efficiency across all county locations, including accommodating large groups of users for special events such as the annual Marinovator conference.

Solution

Ruling out solutions from Aruba and Cisco, and after an initial test in the field and classrooms, MCOE moved forward to deploy Aerohive across all sites. Separate SSIDs are set up at each location, with a guest network, staff network, and a separate SSID for outside vendors to use for testing as required. Additional filtering for social media sites is also provided using Aerohive’s Application Visibility and Control (AVC) functionality.

MCOE deployed Aerohive AP350s, AP230s, and AP330s in classroom and office environments, in addition to Aerohive AP1130 outdoor access points at Walker Creek Ranch where wireless is the primary access layer. HiveManager provides robust network management for IT staff, allowing remote troubleshooting and resolution of many network issues from the central county office.

Many classrooms and offices now have greater efficiency and flexibility and are able to access many cloud-based technologies, such as student information systems, Office365, and online student attendance databases. MCOE’s alternative classrooms use iPads for students with individualized software and personalized learning to accommodate disabilities or security requirements. Robust and reliable Wi-Fi is helping MCOE to meet its goal for 100% of its teachers to use technology to differentiate learning, improve delivery of instruction, and assist students to meet academic standards.

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