West Park School

West Park School is a top outstanding secondary school with a pupil count of around 1400 and 1049 computing devices. The reliance on the wireless network has grown over the years spurned by the increase in wireless devices on the network and the existing network was not providing the performance needed. The school operates laptop trolleys which allow whole classrooms of children to simultaneously access the network

The Problem

The existing wireless network was beginning to be noticeably slow and this meant that it was taking a long time for devices to join the network and they would often drop connection mid lesson. This had a knock on effect of reducing the amount of productive learning time that the children were getting in each lesson when devices were being used. There was no con dence in the wireless network and this had to be addressed before looking to increase the amount of connected devices being used around the school and consider how to further leverage technology for e-learning. Naturally the slow performing network was a roadblock to this.

I was approached by DigitalAir Wireless and they introduced me to a product called Ruckus Wireless which I had seen at the Bett show, I explained what my problem was and that I needed a solid solution to replace our old outdated 3com system.

The Solution

DigitalAir visited the school to inspect the existing network and at the same time carry out a wireless survey for a new network design that would provide the required wireless coverage and capacity for the school. The school was also consulted about existing use and potential future use of the wireless network. It was identi ed that the existing network was only capable of running wireless G technology (a much older and slower technology than currently available) and that the Access Point quantities and locations were not optimal for the required coverage and capacity. The existing design was actually using too many access points which can often in itself cause a problem by creating too much wireless interference! A properly designed network is a ne balance between too many and too few access points.

Due to the high use of wirelessly connected devices and the increasing throughput requirements, it was decided that Ruckus Wireless would be the optimal solution for the new network as they provide features such as advanced Beamforming technology which focuses the wireless energy towards the clients’ device itself and its ability to use ChannelFly to mitigate interference on the network. It was also able to cope with the high density of devices being used in the classrooms. As an initial trial to evaluate the performance gains of a network refresh, DigitalAir installed a number of access points into the math’s block so that the school could fully test the solution and make sure that they had full con dence that it would meet their current and future needs before deciding whether to proceed.