Ormiston College deploys smart Wi-Fi network to boost learning


news Brisbane’s Ormiston College has deployed a high-capacity, high-speed smart Wi-Fi network from Ruckus across its campus to support the education of over 1,500 students.

Over the past five years, the college has been working to increase Internet access across the campus in order to maximise the effective use of digital devices to improve the learning process.

“With more than a thousand students and a large, dispersed campus, it’s vital we have a powerful and robust wireless network in place,” said Solomon Box, IT manager at the college.

“The school has been running a managed student laptop program for five years and every student has their own unique device, which places huge demands on our network. In the past we have experienced some issues with dropouts which was very inconvenient for students and teaching staff,” Box said.

Firmware updates to the previous wireless system had failed to patch the “constant and growing” number of issues students and teachers were experiencing. So, with over 1,100 devices requiring Wi-Fi access, Ormiston College undertook a review of its wireless and wired networks.

“We have been working with Ormiston College for over four years and it was clear that, as the College continued to innovate and integrate the latest technology, the wireless infrastructure needed to be upgraded,” said Michael Del Manso, IT Solutions Director at Serenity IT Solutions – the college’s IT provider.

“Throughout the review, our biggest concern was to ensure the new solution was able to accommodate their network requirements not just for now but well into the future. We began monitoring their network capacity for both wireless and wired technology and found it was imperative 802.11ac Wave 2 technology was installed to future-proof the network,” he said.

During the review process, Ormiston College discovered that Ruckus Wireless had “predominately positive” reviews at other educational institutions, said Box.

As a result, Serenity was tasked with upgrading the college’s wireless network to a Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure, including a ZoneDirector 3000 controller and 70 ZoneFlex™ R710 indoor dual-band 4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 access points (APs) throughout the campus.

With the new setup, Ormiston College has been able to achieve “better coverage” while reducing the number of wireless APs in the school by 30%, according to Ruckus.

“Since installing the Ruckus WLAN, we have seen substantial improvements in the reliability of our network which has been welcomed by the school community,” explained Box. “We have also seen an increase in the speed of the network which has helped with a variety of applications and smart learning initiatives.”

Key to the improvements, according to Ruckus, is its BeamFlex smart Wi-Fi antenna array technology, which monitors the immediate environment and dynamically adjusts the signal to the “best performing path”, the firm said.

Box said the school expects to benefit from the new Wi-Fi network over the next five years.

“We strive to keep up to date with the latest advances in education technology and have plans to upgrade to Wave 2 11ac-enabled laptops in the next few years,” he said. “We can invest in these systems knowing we have a future proof wireless network that supports our commitment to integrating information and communication technologies …”