Kings Norton High School in Birmingham Selects Meru Networks

Every one of the 440 students in Kings Norton High School, Birmingham, is now able to connect to the internet from anywhere in the school, and enjoy a fully interactive experience without interference from their neighbours, thanks to deployment of a Meru Networks IEEE 802.11 wireless network this past October.

The Meru virtual cell wireless network lets students make the fullest use of their laptops, which have been provided to each student in key stage three under a government-backed e-learning initiative which will roll through to the whole school over the next two years.

The school had previously used stand-alone Wi-Fi access points to provide coverage, but when the laptop initiative was launched, if was clear these could not provide full network access throughout the school, nor could they support high-density demands for connectivity such as when up to thirty pupils have to get online immediately at the start of a lesson.

Realizing that not all wireless architectures are capable of handling high-density demand, the school followed a recommendation from European Electronique, to test a wireless infrastructure featuring virtual cell single channel architecture from Meru Networks.

The Meru wireless network, consisting of 44 MN-AP201 802.11a/b/g access points and an MN-MC3050 controller, was installed in two days in October by two engineers from, education ICT specialist, European Electronique, Ltd. The work was done during term time, with little disruption to pupils in the school.

The school's network is based on Meru's virtual cell architecture, which, puts all access points on the same radio channel, in contrast to the multiple radio channels used in legacy microcell architectures and by the school's previous standalone access points. In the microcell environment, each access point must broadcast on a different radio channel than its neighbours, which requires extensive planning of coverage, plus the necessity of running access points at less than full strength in order to fit the complex requirements of microcell.

The Meru virtual cell architecture eliminates the need for this complex planning, and also eliminates interference between access points, making network management and expansion far simpler and less time consuming.

This network can be extended at will: new access points can be added at any time, without any wireless survey work, thanks to the virtual cell architecture.

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