A Case Study
St Thomas Moore Church was established in 1966. In 1969 a school was created on the campus of the church. Over the years as the school grew the campus needed additions in 1983, 1993 and 2010. The school provides a kindergarten through eighth grade quality Catholic education. It currently enrolls around 400 students.
In 2012 STM began investigating how other schools were using technology in the classroom. “Our goal is to prepare our students to be successful members of the 21st century in which we live. Promoting 21st skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, the teacher acts as a facilitator in the learning process and manages how the technology is used in the classroom.” To that end they began looking at how to get Apple iPads into the hands of every student in a way that would enhance their learning experience. Realizing how important collaboration is in the classroom they also needed to make sure that every student had a secure and safe connection that would wirelessly connect their iPads to each other and the Internet.
The CSi Solution
STM contacted CSi to assist them in their iPad Initiative. CSi manages STM’s phone system, but they still contracted with CSi over four other vendors. “We decided to go with CSi because we already did business with them, they are local, and they didn’t use a specific manufacturer’s product but choose one that would best suit our needs,” says Alex Spatz, Head of IT at STM. The technical experts at CSi worked with the IT department at STM to analyze their existing infrastructure and develop the best possible solution.
The key objective was to provide secure and easy to manage network access for 710 iPads. CSi worked with STM and created usage density maps showing densities ranging from 0-3, 3 being the densest with a capacity of 26 students.
In total CSi installed 36 Ruckus Wireless ZoneFlex 7363 Dual-Band Mid-Range 802.11n Access Points (APs) connecting them to existing wire drops in each classroom. They also installed a Ruckus ZoneDirector 1100. The Wirless ZoneDirector is a centrally managed Smart Wireless LAN system. “After becoming familiar with Zone Director 1100, I was pleased to see that I could track client devices, including cell phones and identify rogue networks.” says Spatz, Head of IT at STM. Designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind the Ruckus ZonDirector is purpose-bult to address the gap between standalone, feature-deficient APs that must be individually managed and the costly, complex high-end enterprise systems that would have been overkill for STM. CSi used 5GHz Band Steering to automatically keep the iPads on the 5GHz band thus lessening the load on the 2.4GHz band and providing more throughput for the iPad users.
Spatz sums it up when he says, “The Ruckus system works well for us, allowing the students access and handling the bandwidth loads that are placed upon it.”