Are there any very large Ruckas installations >100 AP's around? The only schools I've seen it used in I was less than impressed, as it didn't seem to scale that well.
50k for a secondary is *not* peanuts and if you can provide Edugeek with the precise details showing how it has an actual, proven effect on the education of the children at the school, I'm all ears. I agree wireless should be more widespread but I do not agree that 50k should be prioritised for Wifi over any number of things that would actually make a proven difference - a proven benefit.
Indeed, £50,000 is not peanuts, especially when you're spending more than that every summer just to update, upgrade, maintain existing systems and clients. We have a little shy of 80 classrooms, spread across a dozen or so separate areas, not to mention offices. We have wi-fi in our 6 form, using limited BYOD, plus we have it in another couple of areas. Our controller is expandable, but my main concern would be the infrastructure...which is the very last thing wi-fi people talk about.
The range of Ruckus is something to behold really. I'd imagine 100 AP's could cover a small town!
If a £50K project is strategically important, then the money can be found. Of course in a grant/budget based organisation you have to cut something else, but a Head who can't plan to find 50K in their budget, is mismanaging.
I shoud emphasise that figure should get you the rolls-royce super-delux all singing all dancing, with whole school training and at least a week of on site support for many years. I've built mine for substantially less. In part we funded it through a REDUCTION in the number of school owned desktops (down to 500 from nearly 800) and increasing the primarly lifetime of devices to 5 years.
"proven educational impact" is tricky. You need at least 3 years, if not 7 of a new system or process to be running in a school before you see the generally accecpted measure of success (improved grades in terminal examinstations). In every school where I have implemented it, we have been either a new school, or undergoing substantial organisational change, and thus it is not possible for me to truely decouple the impact of WiFi from the wider changes. I will however give two anecdotes that I feel support the case for wifi.
1) My previously establishment have gone back to wired desktops in classrooms because the MSP that replaced me couldn't make wireless work (I could) The teachers HATE it. In fact I recently met a teacher from there (who didn't have a clue about my intimate knowlege of the MSP or their school) who as part of their interview at my new place was a) excited to have the flexibility of wireless laptops working, and b) would have walked out of the interview if that MSP was involved with us.
2) Our current School Improvement Plan calls for differentiated learning, and improved ICT skills across the board, and improved collection and use of data by staff (amongst many many other things) Full wireless coverage supports this - instead of an under utilised ICT suite per dept, they have trolleys... and now instead of 30 kids in a class in front of a computer each, they are often spread around a given department supporting the 'differentiated' goals, with access to curriculum resources via the MLE or internet in general. Sometimes it is the advanced students on the laptops getting on with extension work, sometimes it is the EAL students for whom the technology enables access to the curriculum. Sometimes the laptops are used as books and the 'work' is done on paper. Sometimes it is the otherway around.
What is the impact? The students and staff have access to moder up to date methods of working. This better prepares the students for the world of work (assuming they are to be an 'infomation worker' rather than a 'bin man') and encourages continued development of teachers skills as they embrace the new. Finally by providing a top class working environment we also attract a better more motivated type of employee.
The next steps are towards a 1:1 enviroment where electronic is the primary medium. Again what impact on T+L? The intention is that by provided equity of access for all students 24/7 we will see further improvements, and again that we continue to attract the best staff, raise the school profile and thus make it easier to fund raise for future projects.
To pick up on 'wired is the last thing that vendors talk about'. I have a Viglen installed Meru network. Viglen made sure that we had a good solid core layer 2 / layer 3 design before they would implement the Wireless. Not all vendors mis-sell :D
I say 100+ units because to be able to have true coverage, and assuming 30 students per AP, we would need one per classroom.
We currently have two classrooms per AP (120 classrooms) + about 20 other AP's for other areas = 80AP's.
This gives 100% coverage over the school, but not enough for every classroom to be filled with 30 kids.
We paid about 45k which over a 6yr lifespan is 0.0011% of our annual budget.
£50k isn't much for a large school for a major capital investment.
I think you mean 2 classrooms per AP :D
Anyone interested in sharing some performance metrics? I've currently got about 90 laptops in two rooms, one of which does not have an AP in it.
However, if you're going full windows + profile etc..., then you're going to need a much more dense deployment just to get the backbone bandwidth needed.