Virginia district goes wireless

Virginia students take nearly two million Standards of Learning (SOL) tests online annually, and by 2013, online will be the primary delivery mode for all SOL assessments. Online testing allows results to be given more quickly, and it provides innovative test items that challenge students to better demonstrate what they’ve learned. But providing online testing for an entire county of students can challenge the district's IT infrastructure.

That's why Isle of Wight County, one of the oldest county governments in the U.S., has implemented an Aerohive controller-less WLAN solution throughout its nine K-12 school campuses. Going wireless in all of Isle of Wight’s county schools was imperative in order to meet the state's mandate that all students be able to take Standards of Learning (SOL) tests online.

The county serves 5,500 students attending one of nine K-12 schools: two high schools, two middle schools and five elementary schools. There are 900 faculty and staff teaching and administrating the education process.

After evaluating solutions from three other manufacturers, Isle of Wight chose Aerohive for its controller-less approach to wireless networking, centralized network management and fast/failover capabilities for future voice and video requirements. “Going controller-less was important because it meant we were avoiding the issue of having a single point of failure," said Joshua Spaugh, Director of Technology, Isle of Wight County Schools."We really wanted to avoid that hit to the network.”

Other key drivers for Isle of Wight’s decision to implement a WLAN solution were flexibility and convenience. Every teacher has a laptop and access to mobile carts with 30 iPods on them to check out and share among their students. The WLAN currently includes about 200 APs to handle the student and faculty-generated Wi-Fi traffic.

Isle of Wight also appreciated the new system's security features: secure SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) and the ability to have a guest portal and authentication to Active Directory and LDAP.