Durham Catholic District School Board Deploys Wireless LAN

Aruba Networks, Inc. today announced that the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), a publicly funded Catholic school board located in Ontario, Canada, is upgrading its wireless LAN (WLAN) with an enterprise-class solution from Aruba. Designed to support DCDSB’s 21st Century education initiative, the new WLAN will include a combination of Aruba Instant controller-less access points (APs) and controller-based APs, as well as remote APs (RAPs), enabling the School Board to meet the various wireless needs in each of its facilities.

DCDSB, which serves over 22,000 students and 2,000 faculty and staff among approximately 50 schools and district offices, is committed to providing a 21st Century education experience. That experience includes leveraging the latest advances in interactive mobile technology to improve teaching techniques and help prepare students for the types of technologies they’ll be using post-graduation in their continued education and careers.

Currently, about 80% of DCDSB’s classrooms use some level of mobile, interactive technology including laptops, Macbooks, iPads, smartphones, iPods and iPod Touches, and e-readers. Additionally, the Board has deployed 400 interactive video projectors (IVPs) in about 50% of its classrooms over the last eight months, mounting an Apple TV with each IVP and providing the teachers in each of those classrooms with an iPad. The teachers can now broadcast interactive classroom materials and information from the iPad, to the IVP, to the Apple TV. DCDSB plans to deploy that same technology model in each of its classrooms.

To support this new interactive classroom model, the Board needed a robust, enterprise-class WLAN solution that offered appropriate options for secondary schools, where the District needs to support a high density of mobile devices, and elementary schools, where density isn’t as high and simple deployment and set-up is important. After a thorough evaluation of options from other WLAN vendors, DCDSB selected Aruba and is working with Access2Networks from Toronto to deploy the solution. The Board’s new Aruba WLAN will include over 700 APs district-wide when complete, with controller-based APs deployed in the secondary schools to support their high density environments, and Aruba Instant controller-less APs installed in the elementary schools to facilitate quick and easy implementation.

“Our IT staff is lean, so it was very important that our new wireless LAN be able to meet the varying needs of the schools in our district, as well as offer simple, cost-effective deployment,” said Ronald R. Rodriguez, Chief Information Officer for the Durham Catholic District School Board. “Aruba delivers all of this. The Aruba interface is intuitive, and our network is now self-configurable and can be managed from a central location. Best of all, we can have both a traditional, controller-based solution in the schools where we need it, and the Aruba Instant controller-less APs for quick installation in our elementary schools, without sacrificing any crucial enterprise-class features.”

DCDSB’s new WLAN will also include the Aruba AirWave Network Management System and Aruba RAPs for staff who work off-site. The Aruba RAPs will enable Board personnel to connect to the network and access District resources from remote locations, just as if they were sitting in their office.

“When we started looking for our new wireless LAN solution, we knew we had to invest for the long-term,” continued Rodriguez. “We have a responsibility to the taxpayers that support the Durham Catholic District School Board to find and deploy cost-effective technologies that support our current educational objectives and processes, and are robust enough to carry us into the future. Our Aruba wireless infrastructure should allow us to continue deploying innovative technologies in our classrooms, providing our K-12 students with an exceptional educational experience.”