Maine District Picks Meru WLAN

Gorham (ME) School Department has equipped its 850-student high school with a new high-speed IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 wireless network from Meru Networks.

Plans call for the extension of the WLAN to the district's three elementary schools over the next several years. The Meru WLAN was selected to support the burgeoning high-density wireless access needs arising in part from the efforts of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) to provide every student with a laptop computer beginning in middle school.

The WLAN supports activities ranging from students accessing the Internet to teachers doing student assessments, building schedules, and taking attendance using Gorham's student information system. Users also can connect to the network from outdoor venues such as athletic fields. Two distinct wireless networks are supported: one for students and faculty with school-owned computers, and the other for guests and those who bring their own laptops to school.
After evaluating a number of WLAN vendors, Director of Technology Dennis Crowe and his team chose Meru on the basis of its virtual cell architecture and its Airtime Fairness capability. The virtual cell approach, which uses a single radio frequency channel for all APs rather than assigning different channels to adjacent APs, appealed to Crowe for its ability to support a high density of users.