City of Cardiff Council has launched a single wireless network for the 126 schools it oversees.
The council hopes the network will help to encourage e-learning, remote learning and support BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] projects in certain schools.
The £2.6 million project saw managed services firm Intrinsic install Cisco’s cloud controlled Meraki infrastructure, plus wireless LAN hardware and cabling.
It took 15 months to install the necessary switches, load balancers and hardware, according to Intrinsic’s CTO Steve Browell.
The single network has about 3,000 access points across primary and secondary schools in the region. Intrinsic claims that the project is “one of the biggest single school WiFi networks in Europe”.
The council said it decided to install the network after it became aware of the increasing use of consumer mobile devices in its local schools.
“Rather than ignore this change, the council decided to embrace it and empower students to learn in their own way”, the authority said.
The council’s e-learning manager Richard Clement said: “Students and teachers today deserve and expect access to the best technology.
“Through this project, schools in the Cardiff area are able to improve student engagement and motivation because they are able to learn in their own way, with access to the internet anywhere on school grounds. The schools themselves are benefiting from a whole host of new options for teaching processes.”
Browell said: “The benefits to staff and students of the wireless rollout were clear; it was our job to make it perform flawlessly, efficiently and with the best possible service.
“Over 15 months we’ve installed Cisco Meraki switches, load balancers and wireless LAN hardware while making sure we improved economies of scale and reduced maintenance costs. The Council is now future-proofed to empower mobile and internet-based learning.”