Why was Aerohive Selected
- A superior price performance for 802.11ac technology
- Flexible and powerful features including mesh redundancy and the ability to upgrade firmware at intervals
- Robust and reliable wireless network to accommodate large numbers of devices and up to 5,000 simultaneous users across entire district
- Intuitive network management system from Aerohive streamlines control and monitoring
Award-Wining District Deploys Gigabit Wi-Fi to Handle Density
Consolidated High School District 230 (District 230) is located outside Chicago, Illinois and is home to three large high schools within close proximity to each other: Carl Sandburg High School, Victor J. Andrew High School and Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. The District is one of the largest high school districts in the state and serves approximately 8,000 students and 1,100 staff. In 2014, all three high schools were named among America’s Top High Schools by The Daily Beast.
The District had a Cisco wireless network, but the existing network had been designed for coverage instead of density. There were access points throughout all three schools and the administrative building, but not in every room, and the District determined the network was not nearly robust enough to handle the number of devices. In order to eliminate multiple points of failure, the District acknowledged it needed to move away from a controller-based environment, to not only allow for greater density, but to decrease maintenance and replacement costs and to enable a distributed and intuitive network management system. The need to deploy 802.11ac technology was a key requirement as District 230 planned for the future.
The District planned to roll out a 1:1 program, as well as supporting a larger BYOD initiative, and wanted to be prepared to support streaming video, additional digital learning tools and online testing.
After evaluating Cisco and Meraki in field testing, Aerohive surpassed the competition by providing a superior price coupled with a high performance and reliable solution. District 230 was able to simplify the network architecture while still maintaining granular control over network functions by utilizing Aerohive’s HiveManager network management system. The District condensed its network structure to fewer SSIDs, including one for staff and students, as well as a separate guest network. The guest network uses Aerohive’s captive web portal and rotating Private Pre-Shared key technology. In addition to regular on-campus guests, the schools’ facilities are often used for community events and the IT team can now easily provide passcodes for broader wireless access at these special functions. Another great security advantage gained after deploying the Aerohive network is the ability to assign users to different VLANs within a single SSID and create policies based on user type or role. This enables the granular ability to restrict access to internal networks for some users, while routing others through stricter firewalls and content filters.
District 230 uses Aerohive 802.11ac AP230 and AP390 access points and HiveManager on-premise for network management. Enabling the capability for Gigabit Wi-Fi was especially important as the IT team forecasted the types of devices the District would support over the next five years. The District has a significant number of Chromebooks deployed, and there are many specialty departments such as music and PE that utilize iPads for instruction. Aerohive’s Bonjour Gateway feature helps manage Apple TVs and iPads.
The next phase for the wireless network will be to increase the perimeter coverage outside the school and administrative buildings. District 230 will consider and evaluate Aerohive’s AP1130, an 802.11ac outdoor access point rugged enough to handle extreme Illinois weather.