Wireless LAN offers performance in age of mobile device

With the start of a new school year, students are using more and more mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android units, and educators are incorporating digital learning into their curriculum, greatly increasing the density and convergence of applications over the wireless network. In the last six months, over 500 schools around the world faced WLAN performance and throughput issues with legacy microcell-based offerings that didn't address customer performance needs under high density and unpredictable environments.

In answer to this problem, Meru Networks Inc. provider of virtualized and optimized 802.11n enterprise wireless networking, has migrated over 500 microcell-based WLAN education customers worldwide to Meru's virtualized wireless LAN solution in the last six months. The virtualized WLAN solution is designed to help these customers realize significant performance and throughput benefits, and lower operating costs due to overall efficiency improvements and by using up to 30 percent fewer access points.

"With the school year just getting underway, we have seen a huge increase in Wi-Fi enabled devices and demand for wireless network resources," said Eric Hawley, associate vice president, Utah State University. "Meru's virtualized WLAN has elegantly scaled to meet these needs and allowed our students to take advantage of the network from any spot on campus. Our faculty, staff and guests are also able to utilize the network without impacting the performance inside of classrooms or administration offices. The new school year has brought lots of new devices but no WLAN problems."

Increased Density Drives AdoptionToday, educators are incorporating online learning initiatives such as multimedia-rich lessons, 1:1 laptop initiatives, videoconferencing, and distance learning. Meru's Service Assurance Platform is designed to handle high density environments. "In the last few years, we have seen a rapid increase in client density on campus," said Chris Carey, director of technology, Bellarmine College Preparatory. "Previously, we had deployed a microcell WLAN that could not scale to meet our changing needs and the network performance greatly suffered, causing us to look for a more scalable solution. We chose Meru's Virtualized WLAN, which has delivered the highest quality wireless experience to our students and staff as our density has continued to rise and our mission-critical applications have grown in bandwidth requirements."

Critical Application Support

Interactive, multimedia tools such as digital textbooks and social media sites are being used in kindergarten rooms and university laboratories to save money and increase collaboration. Students at Filton College, for instance, are able to access tablet devices like the iPad inside the classroom without interfering with students working on laptops, as Meru can support the increased density with the highest-performance levels.

"The great benefit of Meru's technology is that it can be readily adapted and scaled to meet the ever changing needs of the site as the school continues to expand and diversify," said Bobby Wilson, information technology team leader, Filton College, United Kingdom. "Meru's system has allowed Filton to increase the provision of devices to both staff and students. Users at the school can move freely within buildings and inside the classrooms while maintaining their fast, reliable and secure connection."