URL: string(13) "meru-networks"

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How has the introduction of BYOD strategies altered the demands on Wi-Fi networks?

We are seeing BYOD as a key driver for Wi-Fi. But with students and staff now demanding fast, immediate access to high bandwidth voice and video applications, IT departments are having to cope with this increased demand on their networks, many of which are old legacy systems.

With BYOD strategies, the introduction of what are largely consumer-style devices places added burden and design policies on legacy microcell networks. Consumer devices are designed to “stick” to the one wireless router present in the home, however this is the last thing you want to happen in a high density mobile network like a school, where you want devices connecting to the best available wireless access point. ‘Sticky’ devices by their nature of hanging on to an access point have poor connectivity and therefore a poor user experience, and have the knock on effect of slowing other users down on the same access point. 

Meru’s Education-grade (MEG) wireless solution is designed to solve educational institutions’ BYOD issues and demands, helping to improve the teaching and learning experience for all. 

One key consideration is that with more devices to manage there has been an increase in risks and vulnerabilities. How can you help deal with this?

It’s an important consideration, but when it comes to a school’s BYOD strategy, there is no one-size-fits-all policy. Each organisation, whether a school or a global business should look at their own specific needs and how individuals are using their devices, then tailor their security requirements accordingly.

The first step when setting up a wireless network is to ensure secure onboarding (set up) of devices in the first place; second you need to be able to differentiate between permanent users and visitors. Meru can provide secure on-boarding and off-boarding and can also assign set time restrictions for visitors, like a two-hour time window, to stay attached to the network. Finally, you need to educate your users about the security risks of using mobile devices. 

Not every institution’s demands are the same, how much flexibility is there when it comes to network solutions?

Meru has more than 4,000 education customers in the UK and has successfully met the individual demands of each one, whether a primary school, secondary school, or in further or higher education. Every educational establishment has very different needs, whether it’s to support over 20,000 students at the University of Huddersfield, to help Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) develop its mobile learning strategy, or to help upgrade an aging network infrastructure at Bradfield College with its buildings dating back over 150 years. However, one requirement is essential for all - a reliable and robust wireless network. 

With budgets stretched more and more, what degree of cost efficiency can you offer?

We regularly review our pricing strategy for education, and we offer big discounts for current customers trading their legacy networks, or customers with competitive networks, for the very latest 802.11ac wireless technology. With over 4,000 schools, and the pace of education customer acquisition every year, the pricing offered to education customers must be right for the quality of solution received.

Where will the technology go next for schools?

Technology is a great leveller helping create equal opportunities for students, regardless of their abilities or strengths. For that reason, many schools today have a vision for mobile learning. Some are well advanced in their plans, others are in the process of implementing it, while others are still developing their mobile learning strategies. Whatever stage they are at, wireless technology will provide the backbone for one of the most important developments in education today.

W: www.merunetworks.com

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Tell us a bit about Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA)?

“Enterprise South Liverpool Academy, more commonly known as ESLA, is a Christian Academy, joint Catholic and Church of England, located in Garston, Liverpool.  We are a co-educational school from years 7 to 11 including a sixth form.

“ESLA officially became an academy in 2010 due the closure of two other schools in the area. As part of that we were very fortunate to be one of the last Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF) schools (a huge investment programme by the government into secondary schools buildings in the 2000’s).

“We moved into our current £23.4m building in February 2013, with state-of-the-art facilities to cater for our 1,100 pupils and staff.”

You have a developed a ‘mobile learning’ strategy for the school – what does this mean?

“We had very little in the way of a mobile strategy of any kind in our previous incarnation as two old 1950’s school. With ageing buildings and aging IT, our wireless network was practically non-existent. It was all a bit patchy with a couple of wireless access points, but we were very desktop-centric back then so it didn’t really matter.

“As we evolved our vision for mobile working, driven by our principal who supported the concept, we decided to move away from fixed computers and desktops towards a more independent way of working. We decided on a laptop-driven approach – purchasing 480 HP laptops installed into intelligent laptop banks with built-in biometrics.”

How important is it for the students to be able to learn like this?

“For someone like a sixth former or year 11 student who doesn’t have structured classes, it’s easy to just get a laptop out and work completely independently. Groups of students can also work in open areas around classrooms as part of their classwork if needed – still connected, but working independently and with their own resources.  

“It’s not just students who benefit from mobile working; every member of staff also has a laptop, which they can use to dock into an interactive whiteboard, for example, and use how they want as part of their class activity. 

“Both staff and students have access to the school’s virtual learning environment (VLE) Moodle where they can upload and access materials and resources.”

How are you enabling mobile working?

“Our mobile working vision is fully dependent on the technology – and especially the WiFi provided by Meru Networks and installed by our IT company Capita.

“Initially, we were worried that any network would not stand up to the demands we would place on it when it was first put in. But the Meru WiFi is extremely robust and even with 400 students on it simultaneously or whole classes streaming YouTube clips, it is not even breaking a sweat!

“Having come from virtually no wireless to this has been something of a revelation.”

What other plans do you have for the technology?

“We’ve introduced iPads as well as Mac laptops, plus a number of Android tablets for ICT classes where pupils are using them for app development. We’re also using Apple TVs for sports classes and will look to roll these out further.

“Plus, part of our ethos as an academy is to work closely with the local community and to offer our facilities, such as the library and sports facilities, to local people, organisations and businesses to use – and the Wi-Fi is very much a part of this.”

How important is mobile learning to the future of the school?

“Our vision a few years ago was to develop a mobile way of working that reflected the impressive building we had just moved into. I think we are well on the way to achieving that.

“Technology has proven to be a great leveller helping create equal opportunities for students, regardless of their abilities or strengths.  I think it’s not just important but fundamental to the way educate today and in the future. 

www.merunetworks.com 

www.esla.org.uk

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How has the introduction of BYOD strategies altered the demands on Wi-Fi networks?

We are seeing BYOD as a key driver for Wi-Fi. But with students and staff now demanding fast, immediate access to high bandwidth voice and video applications, IT departments are having to cope with this increased demand on their networks, many of which are old legacy systems.

With BYOD strategies, the introduction of what are largely consumer-style devices places added burden and design policies on legacy microcell networks. Consumer devices are designed to “stick” to the one wireless router present in the home, however this is the last thing you want to happen in a high density mobile network like a school, where you want devices connecting to the best available wireless access point. ‘Sticky’ devices by their nature of hanging on to an access point have poor connectivity and therefore a poor user experience, and have the knock on effect of slowing other users down on the same access point. 

Meru’s Education-grade (MEG) wireless solution is designed to solve educational institutions’ BYOD issues and demands, helping to improve the teaching and learning experience for all. 

One key consideration is that with more devices to manage there has been an increase in risks and vulnerabilities. How can you help deal with this?

It’s an important consideration, but when it comes to a school’s BYOD strategy, there is no one-size-fits-all policy. Each organisation, whether a school or a global business should look at their own specific needs and how individuals are using their devices, then tailor their security requirements accordingly.

The first step when setting up a wireless network is to ensure secure onboarding (set up) of devices in the first place; second you need to be able to differentiate between permanent users and visitors. Meru can provide secure on-boarding and off-boarding and can also assign set time restrictions for visitors, like a two-hour time window, to stay attached to the network. Finally, you need to educate your users about the security risks of using mobile devices. 

Not every institution’s demands are the same, how much flexibility is there when it comes to network solutions?

Meru has more than 4,000 education customers in the UK and has successfully met the individual demands of each one, whether a primary school, secondary school, or in further or higher education. Every educational establishment has very different needs, whether it’s to support over 20,000 students at the University of Huddersfield, to help Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) develop its mobile learning strategy, or to help upgrade an aging network infrastructure at Bradfield College with its buildings dating back over 150 years. However, one requirement is essential for all - a reliable and robust wireless network. 

With budgets stretched more and more, what degree of cost efficiency can you offer?

We regularly review our pricing strategy for education, and we offer big discounts for current customers trading their legacy networks, or customers with competitive networks, for the very latest 802.11ac wireless technology. With over 4,000 schools, and the pace of education customer acquisition every year, the pricing offered to education customers must be right for the quality of solution received.

Where will the technology go next for schools?

Technology is a great leveller helping create equal opportunities for students, regardless of their abilities or strengths. For that reason, many schools today have a vision for mobile learning. Some are well advanced in their plans, others are in the process of implementing it, while others are still developing their mobile learning strategies. Whatever stage they are at, wireless technology will provide the backbone for one of the most important developments in education today.

W: www.merunetworks.com

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Meru networks

Tel: 01344 701800
What we do

Meru began with a vision that sooner rather than later most enterprises would operate in an all-wireless environment: the network edge would need no wires, and a wireless LAN would fully support the enterprise. We wanted users to be able to count on the wireless network to access the content and applications they needed to get their jobs done, and we wanted IT managers to have the power to prepare their networks for the next generation of mobile applications.
To bring that vision to life, we created a unique architecture that frees networks from the limitations of client control. With mobility in mind, we custom-built a network that could deliver the seamless coverage and simple scalability that are only possible with a single-channel design, a network that could virtualize wireless resources to ensure smooth, predictable performance.
Today Meru’s innovative approach to wireless networking has expanded to open, agile and intelligent solutions that deliver best of breed products which services thousands of customers around the world.

Welcome to the new enterprise
Meru wireless LANs are specifically designed for environments where high-density wireless traffic is generated by business-critical applications. In all kinds of enterprises, IT managers are finding that wireless demands are exceeding the capabilities of their current networks legacy systems meant for casual use and low-volume traffic. With the rapid consumerization of IT, they’re facing more and more mobile devices that have to be provisioned, managed and secured. They’re confronting high-bandwidth applications demanding more and more resources. They’re struggling with the need to scale up an old network to accommodate the rising tide of wireless traffic and to accommodate users in many locations, from headquarters buildings to home offices.
They’re experiencing the emergence of the distributed mobile enterprise, and the stress of an infrastructure that’s unprepared. And they’re turning to Meru for solutions.
A high-performance, scalable wireless LAN solution
With a Meru WLAN, IT professionals can easily:
Expand to support the demands of BYOD, cloud services, IoT, voice, video and other mobile applications. A Meru WLAN scales up easily without time-consuming and costly site survey plans.
Manage the Wi-Fi network with small staffs and tight budgets. A Meru WLAN is simple to deploy and manage, with low total cost of ownership.
Ensure consistent, high-quality mobile services. Meru creates a reliable, seamless network with no soft spots. Real-time RF resource optimization allocates bandwidth fairly and predictably.
At the same time, Meru lets IT managers leverage their existing investments in virtualization, cloud computing, and mobility the technologies that allow today’s enterprise to become fully distributed. Meru provides a high-performance wireless infrastructure that is easy to deploy, manage, and expand.
Future-proofing the network
The Meru infrastructure is built from the ground up to support high-user density, extremely mobile users, and business-critical voice, video, and data applications. It’s an all-wireless network that delivers a consistent, interactive experience for all users no matter what applications they are running, no matter what device they use and no matter how many other users are on the network.
Meru’s design is easily scalable and keeps IT departments ahead of the curve as their users become more dispersed and mobile, and their network demands grow. It’s an infrastructure designed, from the beginning, to future-proof the enterprise network.

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Why education must take IT security more seriously

Tuesday, November 30, 11AM (GMT)