Posts Tagged ‘1:1’

How Alvin ISD Exceeded Expectations for 1:1 and BYOD

student_ipad_school - 038

Have you ever wondered how simple it really is to create a custom network with Cisco Meraki devices that supports nearly 20,000 users daily? We were too, so we invited John Wilds, Network Manager at Alvin ISD, the fastest growing district in the Houston, Texas area, to join us for a live, interactive webinar to answer your questions.

John spent the better part of an hour describing the deployment of his network as well as its daily use, and we’ve highlighted some of his story here.

Why were you looking for a network change and why did you choose Cisco Meraki devices?

JW: We were running about 530 HP Procurve APs in the junior high schools participating in our 1:1 initiative, but we knew the wireless system wasn’t going to support the demand the initiative would generate. We were having a lot of dropped connections and problems with band-steering. 

We compared Cisco Meraki products, Aruba, Motorola, and HP in a WiFi stress test. We set up two classrooms side by side with 1 AP and 90 HP Netbooks each, simultaneously imaging all of them. The Meraki APs were clear winners with no problems running 180 HP Netbooks on only 2 APs.

Can you explain what the deployment process was like?

JW: Well we currently have 23 school buildings in the district with plans to construct more in the near future.  We had only planned to provide wireless to the 5 schools with  1:1, but with the affordable pricing of the Meraki products, we were able to do the entire district.

For the actual deployment, I simply hired student workers to install throughout the district.  I configured the settings from the dashboard and they simply plugged the APs in.  We were done in less than three weeks!

How have the Cisco Meraki devices changed the day to day within the district?

JW: Having the district covered in wireless has let us do more with technology.  And the reporting lets me see how the network and different devices are being used.  For example, in the dashboard, we discovered that Netbooks were utilized more when they stayed in a classroom, instead of with a student.  We altered our 1:1 plans and created Netbook sets assigned to classrooms.

We’ve also extended our purchases to other devices, matching devices to an educational purpose: Kindle Fires for reading, Chromebooks for content creation, Android, iOS, you get the idea.  It’s a device-neutral environment, we’re building the network to support whatever device needs to connect to it.

Last year we started allowing BYOD in our high schools and quickly expanded it down through 6th grade because of its success.  In response to security concerns, I can ensure network security and limit access to appropriate content with custom rules – it’s like having a firewall at the AP level. 

But the best part is the response to the WiFi.  The high schools were interested in which areas were strongly using BYOD and how.  Were students bringing in their own devices?  Were the devices being used for educational purposes?  What applications were being run?  It became a competition to see which of the two schools could utilize the network most!  I want them to try to hit the roof with network usage, it would mean that the network is being used!  We can always add more Meraki APs if needed.


What has been the best part of management with the cloud management platform?

JW: How simple and reliable it is.  We actually have a part-time student worker that’s maintaining the network.  When we first deployed, I noticed that some of the APs were acting in mesh mode rather than running in gateway mode.  The Meraki APs were diagnosing our bad cables for use.  How long were our old APs running on bad cables and we never knew it?

Since installing the Meraki devices, we’ve spent no time at all on wireless issues, and we’ve had no complaints about laptops not connecting.  Wireless coverage is expected everywhere now, regardless of how remote the location.  The Meraki APs give us the ability to provide that reliable coverage anywhere.

Check out the case study to see more of how John is using his network to optimize how technology is used for education within his district.

A Collaborative and Mobile Learning Environment at Milpitas USD

Preparing students for the future is what every educator strives to do.  As society continues to innovate new ways to experience and understand the world around us, it is only natural that learning techniques change too.

On February 14th, Chin Song, Director of Technology at Milpitas USD, joined us to share how he created a custom wireless network from scratch and bolstered his existing wired network.  Spanning 14 schools in Silicon Valley with over a half million square feet of indoor classroom space, Milpitas USD has begun implementing numerous technology initiatives, including 1:1 with Chromebooks, iPads in the classrooms, and BYOD.

Deploying more than 600 Meraki access points and over 100 Meraki switches, Chin now has granular visibility into how 10,000 students and 800 faculty members are using the network, what devices they’re on, and the types of applications they’re using.  Cloud architecture gives Chin increased control over his network from anywhere with real-time management, for both wired and wireless, from a single web-based dashboard.

Milpitas USD Dashboard View

Interacting with guest speakers via live video streaming, collaborating with fellow students in another school, broadcasting district news on location instead of in a studio – these are just some of the ways that Milpitas USD is now embracing technology to promote a higher level of education.

Watch the video – See how Chin quickly deployed the Meraki solution, created a custom network for his district, manages and troubleshoots on the fly, and most importantly how he’s created a mobile and collaborative campus.

K-12 Technology Initiatives at Milpitas Unified School District

This Thursday, February 14th at 9am PT, Chin Song, Director of Technology at Milpitas USD in Silicon Valley, will be joining us to share his experiences crafting a wireless network from scratch and bolstering the existing wired infrastructure.

Students at Milpitas USD are using technology for increased collaboration throughout the district.

With over 2,000 Chromebooks currently issued to students, and another 8,000 on the way, Chin is excited to prepare his district for 21st century learning and increased technology initiatives, like 1:1 deployments and BYOD.  Teachers can now work together and share ideas remotely, increasing the time they can spend teaching.  Students are collaborating via the Internet, sharing documents online and video conferencing, enabling them to expand their learning environment.

With the cloud architecture, Chin has granular visibility into how students and faculty are using the network on their devices and what types of applications they’re using.  Cloud-managed WiFi and switching is providing Chin increased network control in a number of ways:

  • Real-time management from a web-based dashboard, for both wired and wireless, for on-the-fly troubleshooting
  • CIPA-compliant, integrated traffic shaping and content filtering
  • Remote identification of switch port usage and testing of Ethernet cables, facilitating creation of new learning areas
  • Data-rich packet capturing and easy to implement QoS capabilities, ensuring flawless multimedia streaming and collaboration

Join us on Thursday to see Chin’s network in action!