BYOD Wireless Networks with iPads for Every Student

“We’re transforming the nature of the classroom, and the nature of learning”Wifi in Schools Article in The Times

Those are the words of Neil Willis, the Principal of Longfield Academy in Kent, reported in a recent article in the Sunday Times (PDF).

Longfield is one of  many schools taking advantage of evolving technology to enhance teaching and learning by using ICT delivered to mobile devices in the heart of the curriculum. These initiatives engage the pupils, encourage independent learning, and enable students to learn at their own pace and level.

It is the iPads at Longfield that grab the attention, but behind the devices there is a new generation of wireless network that ensures fast consistent delivery of  content, for the large numbers of students and teachers, sat in classrooms, and as they roam the school.

The wireless technology behind the Longfield Academy transformation is from Meru Networks.

Powered by a New Generation of Wireless from Meru.

In schools where the pupils work in a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) environment, wireless is a critical  infrastructure component, particularly as devices such as the iPad have no wired network connection. Traditional wireless LAN infrastructure struggles to provide fast consistent delivery of multimedia learning resources to the high densities of devices seen in classrooms and lecture theatres. Reliable service delivery is made harder when the pupils own the devices and use them everywhere whilst they roam the school.

There are three key challenges, reliable coverage every where, high performance with high densities of  devices and maintaining reliability and performance as devices and their users roam the school.

Traditional wireless networks struggle with these challenges. Their wireless access points operate on different channels and with different power settings. They operate independently from each other and rely on a compromise configuration to operate reliably and quickly. Place  them close together and they interfere with each other compromising reliability, move them far apart and performance is compromised.

The access points also rely on the connected devices to negotiate with each other and the network to decide who’s turn it is to talk. This becomes increasingly inefficient as the number  of devices in an area increases, to the point where more bandwidth is used to support this contention mechanism than is left for useful payload. Devices are also in charge of which access point they connect to. As uers roam the network the devices are reluctant to change access point. Being connected to the wrong access point again compromises performance and reliability.

Meru Puts The Network In Charge

Meru has introduced a new generation of technology, with a fundamentally new architecture which overcomes these limitations.

The access points operate as a co-ordinated team, all running on the same channel, all at full power. This creates a continuous area of fast, reliable, interference free coverage, right across the school.

The network controls contention, efficiently dictating when devices and access points talk, and the network controls which access point each device talks to. As the devices move, the network makes sure they are always connected to the most appropriate access point.

These three fundamental architectural advantages, all achieved without any configuration of the devices,  enable Meru to deliver a fast reliable wireless infrastructure capable of supporting whole school teaching by wireless.

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Or if you would like to talk about Meru or wireless networks for eduction, why not contact Siracom today – the leading distributor of wireless technology in the UK.