Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced that a significant number of educational institutions – both K-12s and universities – are upgrading their network infrastructures with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) to enable the next generation of digital classrooms and campuses. The increased performance, greater mobile and IoT device density support and additional bandwidth made possible with Wi-Fi 6, combined with specific innovations in Aruba’s access points (APs), will allow these institutions to deliver extraordinary campus and classroom experiences for their students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools, Octorara Area School District, and Seneca College are just a few of the 400+ educational institutions – and nearly 2,000 total organizations – that have moved to Aruba Wi-Fi 6 APs as the foundation for their technology initiatives since the APs were introduced in November 2018. Industry research firms like 650 Group indicate that these numbers have given Aruba a market-leading position in delivering Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure.
“In the fast-growing and competitive Wi-Fi 6 enterprise Access Point market, Aruba has taken an early lead and has shipped over 35% of all Wi-Fi 6 enterprise APs since the inception of the market,” said Chris DePuy, technology analyst and founder at 650 Group.
Key concerns for organizations worldwide that are driving this movement to Wi-Fi 6 include ensuring fast, reliable connectivity for an ever-increasing number of mobile devices, reducing costs and energy consumption, and accommodating IoT multiprotocol connectivity needs – particularly the growth of Zigbee and Bluetooth devices that may need to share the network with Wi-Fi-based devices.
To transform its new Southeastern Elementary School into a 21st century learning and collaboration hub for its 600+ students, Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana designed its new K-4 with the latest technology including Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 APs. The non-traditional elementary school boasts an innovative, open concept design that includes pods, or neighborhoods, of classrooms circled around common areas for easy collaboration. The common areas open to outdoor courtyards so that teachers can incorporate outdoor learning into their students’ curriculum easily. With this focus on collaborative spaces and classrooms that will also incorporate Apple TVs and outfit every student with iPads and other mobile devices, the network infrastructure is critical to Hamilton’s goals for the new school.
“When you’re talking about 30 iPads per classroom at a minimum, and large groups of 100 students collaborating in common spaces, you’re talking about an infrastructure that has to accommodate this significant increase in density with improved performance and reliability,” said Tom Kouns, director of Infrastructure Technologies at Hamilton Southeastern Schools. “The Aruba Wi-Fi 6-based infrastructure is critical to enabling the kind of 21st century learning environment we’ve envisioned.”
For Octorara Area School District in Pennsylvania, the launch of Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 APs perfectly coincided with the district’s need to upgrade their network. The school district employs a 1:1 initiative, delivering Chromebooks and iPads to each student, while also allowing students and staff to bring their own devices into the four schools the K-12 district operates. With their progressive education platform, Octorara knew that moving to Wi-Fi 6 would deliver the kinds of forward-thinking applications and services they’ve envisaged, while delivering value to the community and protecting their investment. The District worked with partner, Turn-key Technologies (TTI) of Sayreville, New Jersey, to implement the new technology.
Robert Czetli, director of IT for Octorara Area School District, explained, “We had an opportunity to capitalize on eRate and district funding to future-proof our network with the latest technology on the market and to be amongst the first globally to do so. My goals as a technology leader aligned perfectly with those of our Superintendent’s to provide our staff and students the chance to push and explore educational possibilities without limitations. While no one can really predict how our classroom needs might change, deploying the Aruba Wi-Fi 6 APs gives us the confidence that we can meet these challenges.”
At Seneca College, adopting Wi-Fi 6 is critical to the Canadian-based institution’s overall mobility strategy and its desire to attract top-notch faculty and students. With 24,000 students on eight campuses across the greater Toronto area, Seneca has long been viewed as visionary and innovative, and according to Hassan Assiri, director of ITS Infrastructure at Seneca, upgrading the college’s infrastructure to Wi-Fi 6 is another key differentiator that helps Seneca stay ahead of the curve. In fact, Seneca is the first college in Canada to deploy Wi-Fi 6 technology.
“IT is a key enabler for our institution’s goals, so we’re constantly examining how our infrastructure can help our college remain competitive, innovative and accommodate the increasingly savvy and mobile student population,” Assiri commented. “We realized that to enable the classrooms and campus of the future, mobility is crucial, and it requires a reliable, high-performance, high-bandwidth foundation. Upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 was an easy decision and with Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 APs and our other Aruba solutions in place, we knew we’d be able to make this leap with ease.”
Seneca has already transformed one of its campus buildings, housing a mix of classrooms and faculty offices, to an all Wi-Fi 6 environment. In a new planned administrative building, Seneca is embracing an open office concept, in a completely untethered environment. When commissioned in the summer of 2020, this building will be powered exclusively by Aruba Wi-Fi 6. The college also plans to transition the rest of its campus to Wi-Fi 6 over the next three years. The ultimate goal is a fully mobile campus where students, faculty and staff can explore new methods of learning and interacting.
“Our strategic plan places emphasis on leading through excellence with a focus on quality, innovation in teaching and learning, and determination to improve continuously,” said Radha Krishnan, AVP of Information Services at Seneca College. “We are currently implementing a multi-year digital strategy that aligns well with our strategic plan, and when fully implemented, will transform our student and employee experience. Deploying Wi-Fi 6 is a significant step in making progress on our digital strategy initiatives.”
With the Aruba Wi-Fi 6 APs built-in power management capabilities, including Smart PoE which allows Seneca to use its existing switch infrastructure to power up APs, the College is also experiencing energy – and therefore, cost – savings with its network upgrade.
Said Assiri, “With the intelligent power monitoring and Green AP features on the Aruba APs, we can save on costs by using our existing PoE switches to power the APs and the APs can automatically hibernate when not in use, lowering our power consumption and making us more energy and cost efficient.”
About Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is a leading provider of secure, intelligent networks that enable customers to thrive and deliver amazing digital experiences in the mobile, IoT and cloud era. We are changing the rules of networking to make it simple for IT and organizations to bridge the physical and digital worlds at the Edge.
To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.