- Objective to provide pupils with a home-like IT experience
- Pupils increasing use of laptops and mobile internet devices, mix of legacy cabled and wireless networks was not sufficient
- Eliminate management and cost overheads and stay ahead of increasing expectations for advanced technology from pupils
- Aerohive chosen for its ease of management, functionality, ability to scale and compelling price point
- Secure, reliable and scalable platform to meet the needs of pupils and enable the fulfilment of school’s objectives
- Network is future-proof and agile enough to welcome new devices and the traffic that comes with them
Offering Pupils ‘Home-from-Home’ Wi-Fi Experience with Aerohive
The Leys School, Cambridge, is one of England’s premier independent schools with in excess of 550 pupils, over half of which are boarders.
The school prides itself on a blend of traditional values and its forward-looking approach to education. Creating a close-knit, friendly community is seen as a top priority. The Leys believes the confidence that pupils gain in an encouraging family atmosphere enables them to fulfil their potential in both work and play.
The Leys had an objective to provide pupils with a home-like IT experience. This, amongst other growing demands, led to a revamp of the school’s IT infrastructure in order to maintain and improve the standard of education delivered.
Damian Glasfurd-Brown, Director of IT at The Leys, explains, “We are dedicated to enhancing the living and learning environment for pupils at the school by providing a ‘home-from-home’ environment for all pupils, particularly boarders.
“It was clear, with more and more pupils using laptops and mobile internet devices, that our mix of legacy cabled and wireless networks was not sufficient. Our scattered 802.11b/g wireless hotspots were unmanageable and weren’t delivering on performance.”
In order to access the WLAN pupils needed to be in certain locations around the school which became impractical. Although all pupils had the facility to connect to the network using cables, they were regularly asking why they couldn’t access it wirelessly.
Dr. Glasfurd-Brown continues, “We needed to re-assess our wireless requirements. Eliminating management overheads and staying ahead of increasing expectations for advanced technology from pupils was essential. We looked for a solution that would scale in line with their needs, but without a heavy price tag or drain on the resources of the IT team. We also wanted a solution which would allow us to offer wireless as the primary network access for pupils and, in turn, massively reduce our future outlay on edge switching.”
The school assessed WLAN solutions from Aerohive, Aruba, Meru, SonicWALL and Extreme Networks. With the help of trusted IT partner LAN3, The Leys chose Aerohive for its ease of management, functionality, ability to scale and compelling price point.
“Aerohive was the vendor best able to provide a secure, reliable and scalable platform to meet the needs of our pupils and enable us to fulfil the school’s objectives. Aerohive’s controller-less architecture offers the scalability we need to handle rapidly growing demands. Scaling the network is simple; we just buy APs as required to increase reach and capacity. HiveManager operates as a virtual machine in our VMWare cluster, and with no need to buy controllers, this helps reduce longterm cost—which keeps parents and governors happy too.” explains Dr Glasfurd-Brown.
Moreover, Aerohive’s solution means pupils and staff can use schoolowned and personal devices on the network. Integrated network-based mobile device management functionality allows the IT department to create profiles to work with our Network Access Control (NAC) solution, helping safeguard the network and manage traffic.
He continues, “As mobile internet devices become increasingly popular, we recognise the need to accommodate them on the network. With Aerohive we’ve been able to ensure that our network is future-proof and agile enough to welcome new devices and the traffic that comes with them.”
The school has now implemented internal and external HiveAPs across its ten houses providing over 550 pupils and resident staff members with easy to access and secure Wi-Fi connectivity.
As the primary access layer for student accommodation, the Aerohive WLAN plays a critical role in assuring the highest standard of student experience, Dr Glasfurd-Brown explains:
“We now have an environment where our pupils’ connectivity and mobility needs are properly met. Pupils can not only complete assignments online, but safely browse the internet, play games, and communicate with friends and family. With a fast Internet connection, we think this adds up to a home-from-home environment.”
The IT team is also reaping the benefits of Aerohive’s centralised management platform.
“The HiveManager platform is saving us time and freeing up resource for our IT team. Simply by having the ability to configure and manage from one location APs as well as wireless devices accessing the network, we have eliminated many man hours spent fixing pupils’ connection issues.”
Moving forward, the school plans to extend its deployment to the entire school campus and grounds.
“The simple and scalable nature of Aerohive’s controller-less WLAN infrastructure means we don’t have to jump through hoops to extend the network. The next step for us is to provide pupils with the same quality of Wi-Fi in classrooms and communal areas. We’ve also used external HiveAPs to support remote buildings, and will be looking at implementing these to support roaming across our grounds so pupils can get online outside.”