With more than 50 schools, 30,000 students and 5,500 staff, the district needed the bandwidth to enable digital learning across 50,000 devices each day. Thanks to the network upgrade’s dense deployment of Wi-Fi 6–capable access points, along with supporting cabling and switches, the district can meet today’s needs and is prepared for what’s to come.
With modernized networking, “we’re building something that’s scalable. We can add Wi-Fi in new places, such as outdoors. We can turn up features that we didn’t have access to before,” Brown says.
More APs in K–12 Classrooms Offer More Options for Students
With an impending deployment of one-to-one tablets to students in grades 6 through 12, the district had to prepare its technology infrastructure. According to Network Administrator Brian Lindsey, more devices and more bandwidth-intensive classroom uses would quickly stress the every-other-room Wi-Fi deployment.
“We needed to spread out the load and give our learners more options. Plus, we needed better security for devices,” Lindsey explained.
To close the gap, the district deployed Aruba 635 Series access points for connectivity in every classroom, 655 Series devices for larger spaces such as gyms and cafeterias, new Aruba switches and new CAT 6 cabling.
Experts say it makes sense to modernize the cabling when undertaking a network refresh.
“Most Wi-Fi 6 deployments will use CAT 6 cabling, which matches the bandwidth to be configured on the access point itself,” says Dorothy Stanley, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Working Group. Some may even look to CAT 8 cables when there’s a long distance to be covered and very high throughput needs, she says.
With help from CDW, Brown and his team were able to roll out the upgrades on an accelerated timeline, working through spring and summer of 2023 to have everything in place for the start of school in September.
Strong buy-in from district leadership helped the team meet its ambitious timeline. “What it boils down to is that we all have a passion for driving the district forward. We wanted to make sure that all of our energies are dedicated toward that student experience and setting our students up to succeed,” Brown says. “Having top-down support for a serious investment in our infrastructure was really critical.”