The other thing I would recommend that you do when speaking with each company / supplier is to ensure that you get real world examples of usage for both technical and educational requirements. If you are wanting learners to bring their own technology then you might need to look at what ports you have open, how you will be able to weight school traffic ahead of 'user' traffic (unless you want all your VIth formers watch Top Gear during independent study time or leeching the latest films, resulting in virtually no access for the rest of the school to online resources!), how you will help teachers make the most of learners having their own kit (eg no flash stuff in case some have iPads / iPod Touches, different screen sizes and resolutions, some sites responding differently between regular and mobile versions, etc) and so on.
Also, will you be allowing learners access to school hosted resources? will this be files via webdav shares? remote desktop / terminal server solutions, etc? How will the networks be segregated? Different SSIDs going to different VLANs? Physically separate network? Some suppliers will demo kit to you using *their* kit ... ie their laptops, etc. Don't let them. Make sure you have a full range of devices (ask the kids to bring things in) to test with. Don't get bogged down by "time to log onto the network" when most improvements on this centre around profiles and GPOs being applied. Next week I am meeting with a company to get commissioned a summary of all the case studies and research on this area. it will be available under CC so I'll share on here (available mid-March).
It has a msm 760 controller with 422APs but apparently for the monitoring of the wireless environment you need some extra bits.
Ah see now monitoring of the wireless environment is comepletely different to centralised managed of the ap's which is what any controller solution gives you including the 760.
Mark from Meru here. We'd be very happy to loan you some equipment so you can prove that what you're looking to do is achievable with Meru. Meru have many examples of schools achieving what you're looking to do already, and I'd be happy to supply local references privately.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Aruba here, we have it at some 50 sites and a few hundred access points now, solid as a rock cannot fault it.
Having trouble downloading your Ruckus document - any ideas or can you send direct?
OK so far have had Ruckus, Aruba and Meru in (and Xirrus next week) they all have something to offer, however I'm looking for real world examples of people who have installed any of these technologies who have a high density of users. We are looking at around 85 classrooms with potentially 25-30 devices in half of the rooms at any one time room as an example. Is there anybodyon here who has this high level of wireless usage and is finding their solution does or doesn't work for whatever reason?
All the systems should handle that fine. I can only speak for aruba but I've had 30 laptops running on one AP in a classroom day in day out for the last 2 years.
Certainly no problems with bandwidth like our old netgear "G" AP's
A properly designed (& correctly installed) managed wireless network can meet your requirements.
Insist that potential suppliers provide you with reference sites that meet your criteria; numbers & types of devices in use are a good starting point.
Then visit the sites and see the wireless network in action. Loan equipment is fine in theory, but you will never be able to simulate a full size solution.
Consider what wireless technology your client devices are using too, and how well the vendors support their wireless equipment with drivers & updates. Having worked with Cisco, 3Com and Meru managed solutions I have found that devices with Intel wireless chipsets seem to be more reliable than other vendors. Getting the right drivers and settings can make or break wireless networks.
Guys, We are extremely pleased with our new Meru network here. I appreciate the dilemma, i had conversations with most of the afore mentioned suppliers. We eventually took up the offer of borrowing some eval kit from Meru to see first hand how it worked with our own devices. Very impressed! The bandwidth limitations associated with our existing unmanaged wifi network have gone. We can now consistently logon suites of laptops/students with a 4Mb mandatory profile in a couple of minutes. The ability to create security profiles and SSIDs with a couple of mouse clicks is superb. The result is the ability to support not only our own devices, but an array of staff / students handheld devices. As a school our strategy is to embrace the use of personal handhelds and as such students are now accessing Moodle / Mahara / email etc with surprising regularity. In a recent 'very high' density test we simultaneously connected 200 devices to our Meru network, and then attempted simultaneous video streams, nearly 90 devices streamed the vid successfully at which point we saturated our Internet bandwith! Very pleased to observe that the Meru network didnt even break a sweat!
We are looking at Aruba at the moment as our LEA has negotiated a discount with the supplier. I'm only looking to put in 4APs at the moment but will be getting the 16 port version of the control switch.
I've been along to a demo of the Meru kit today thanks to Karen Nash at Ergo and the IT Guys at Reepham High School for hosting it and the guys from SiraCom for doing the demo.
As has been said previously the report is a few years old and so the statements in it about the Meru kit not being centrally managed are no longer accurate as they also now use a controller appliance.
Every wireless vendor will tell you there kit is the best and so you have 2 choices really test them all independently yourself running real world testing, probably not doable for most schools or pick a wireless vendor who's products have been used and tested in environments similar to yours and then work with that vendor so that the solution works for you.
mhowell (9th February 2011)
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)