SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Ruckus Wireless today launched its Smart Wi-Fi for Education program that gives school districts, colleges and universities affordable access to the next stage of Smart Wireless LAN (http://www.ruckuswireless.com/products/zoneflex/)technology to enable more reliable, better performing and farther reaching Wi-Fi services across school campuses. The company also announced a landmark deal with the Delta School District (http://www.ruckuswireless.com/products/casestudies/)in Vancouver, British Columbia, to outfit 33 schools with its ZoneFlex Smart WLAN system over the next 12 months. In the past 60 days, more than 50 education institutes throughout North America have standardized on the Ruckus ZoneFlex (http://www.ruckuswireless.com/products/zoneflex/)WLAN system. Under the Smart Wi-Fi for Education program, Ruckus Wireless is offering specially priced ZoneFlex Smart WLAN packages to educational institutions. These packages include the unique combination -- not found in other WLAN systems -- of three cutting-edge technologies: 802.11n, adaptive beam steering and SmartMesh networking. Armed with these technologies in one simple-to-use, affordable system, educational institutions can now implement higher speed WLAN environments more quickly and at a fraction of the cost and complexity of alternative offerings. "Schools everywhere are looking beyond the current generation of Wi-Fi technology to support more users and diverse applications," said Selina Lo (http://www.ruckuswireless.com/), president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. "Cost, complexity and poor coverage have been preventing many schools from making Wi-Fi a ubiquitous, multimedia communications utility that provide students a better learning experience. With our Smart Wi-Fi, this is now history." "We are very excited to work with Ruckus and introduce Smart Wi-Fi to the Delta School District," says Delta School District Superintendent Steve Cardwell. "This technology is of tremendous benefit to our community of schools and reinforces our commitment to innovation in education. I welcome this program as an opportunity to enable our students to remain connected to the modern digital age in which they learn and live." Why Isn't Wi-Fi Smart Enough for Today's Schools? As information becomes more borderless, flexibility and mobility are critical to increasing productivity and innovation. The National Center for Education Statistics estimated a 50 percent increase in students that took at least one online course over the past year. A WLAN facility that enables access and communications anywhere, anytime helps schools increase enrollments and competitiveness by fostering a more collaborative and creative learning environment. At the same time, schools today face greater financial and staff resource constraints. Many have found conventional WLAN technology to be overly costly and complex while delivering inconsistent performance and inadequate signal coverage. Insufficient capacity and roaming support required for converged communications are other pain points cited by schools with early WLAN experience. "As educational institutions move towards 1:1 computing they're looking to move beyond traditional Wi-Fi and implement more professional-grade technology that fixes the coverage and reliability issues that have relegated Wi-Fi to an occasional tool," said Paul Parsons of the Electronic and Computer Services (ECS) Group within Delta School District. "If I were to grade existing wireless LAN systems for being easy-to-use, affordable, robust and adaptive, I'd fail almost all of them." A Smarter and Greener Wireless LAN Ruckus Wireless Smart Wi-Fi technology uniquely eliminates the Wi-Fi barriers for schools with state-of-the-art technology that directs Wi-Fi signals only where needed and adapts transmissions around environmental problems such as interference. By controlling the form and direction of signal energy rather than radiating omni-directionally all the time, Smart Wi-Fi delivers higher reliability and more extensive coverage. Furthermore, it provides for a "greener" Wi-Fi (http://www.ruckuswireless.com/products/zoneflex/) environment as fewer APs are needed to provide ubiquitous coverage. In addition, Smart Wi-Fi incorporates the use of 802.11n SmartMesh networking to streamline deployment by obviating the need to run Ethernet cabling to every Wi-Fi access point. Smart Wi-Fi for Education Making the Grade at Schools Around the Country Over the last 60 days, the Ruckus ZoneFlex system has been selected by a large number of schools, school districts and colleges including: Borel Middle School, George Hall School, Highlands Elementary School, Kauai Community College, Laney College, Pacific Ridge Elementary School, San Mateo Unified School District, Pollock Pines School District, Surrey School District, Ingham Intermediate School District, Okaw Valley School District, Unity Christian High School, Lovett School, Canton Country Day School, Franklin Academy, Rainbow Christian Academy, Family Charter School and Delta School District. Delta School District Becomes Harbinger of Wi-Fi in Education Located in the southwest corner of British Columbia and with a student population of over 16,000, Delta School District has selected the Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart WLAN system for its 33 district schools (seven high schools and 26 elementary schools) as well as a number of auxiliary locations -- representing over two million square feet of space across 35 kilometers. Like many schools with limited IT staff and budget, Delta School District wanted to utilize Wi-Fi in a more productive and prominent role to enhance efficiency, increase competitiveness and foster innovation. Previously, Delta had sprinkled Cisco lightweight APs at school sites and a centralized WLAN controller at the school board office but have since wanted to use Wi-Fi more strategically. "Wi-Fi has become essential for enhancing everything from the educational experience to operational efficiency," said Parsons. "But coverage, flexibility and ease-of-use were issues that just couldn't be resolved with existing WLAN systems. We needed an affordable and professional-grade wireless system across our entire district, but found that with limited resources and budget, it looked to be an almost impossible task." With a single Cisco access point at each site, backhauling traffic back to the Delta District board office didn't pose a problem. However deploying multiple access points in every school to provide complete coverage required a controller onsite -- which led to capacity, management and cost concerns. "Our Phase Two plan to put a robust WLAN in every school got cost-prohibitive very quickly when we looked at the expense to deploy multiple APs and a controller at each site," said Parsons. "The cost of the Ruckus ZoneFlex system was so affordable and it provided even better functionality, which brought the architecture we wanted within reach." Delta was drawn to the Ruckus ZoneFlex system due to its simplicity and use of advanced technology that ensured better coverage, reliability and consistent performance without a lot of IT administration. "Our budget constraints meant that it would be about five years before we were able to have complete wireless coverage at every one of our schools. But with the Ruckus ZoneFlex system we can deploy a more robust wireless LAN in about a year at about 70% of the cost," said Parsons. At each elementary school site Delta is installing between two and six ZoneFlex 2942 (802.11g) APs, and up to 12 7942 (802.11n) APs at each secondary school. Every site also has a Ruckus ZoneDirector controller to provide central configuration, management, administration and security. Delta School District is also looking to leverage the Ruckus FlexMaster system which provides a single point of management for each ZoneDirector controller and associated access points at each school. Based on Ruckus' patented beam steering technology, the ZoneFlex WLAN provides consistent, higher capacity coverage and extended range, meaning fewer APs are needed to cover a larger area than would be possible with competitive offerings -- another significant cost advantage that appealed to Delta. "With Ruckus SmartMesh networking technology, schools will be better able to use our computer laptop lab carts and not have to worry about finding an Ethernet port for connectivity. It even enables wireless management of each school's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which all run on IP networks, from anywhere on school grounds," said Parsons. In the future, Delta plans to leverage the Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure for conducting video surveillance, and also for running a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system. Smart Wi-Fi for Education Bundles Available for a limited time in North America only, the Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi educational bundles include: a 50-AP system at 60% off MSRP; a 25-AP system at 48% off MSRP, and an education pilot kit, which includes two ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi APs, also 50% off MSRP (all bundles include a Ruckus ZoneDirector management controller). In addition to these educational bundles, the company has also established a suggested education price list on all Ruckus hardware and software products. About Ruckus Wireless, Inc. Based in Sunnyvale, California, Ruckus Wireless is a next-generation Wi-Fi company credited with pioneering "Smart Wi-Fi" technology. Named a 2007 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, Ruckus Wireless was formed in 2004 at Sequoia Capital. The company designs, develops and markets Smart Wireless LAN systems that provide reliable and adaptive distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11a/b/g/n technology. The company's patented hardware and software technologies deliver predictable performance, extended range and real-time adaptability to changing Wi-Fi environments. The company has raised approximately $42 million in financing from premier venture capital investors, consumer electronics companies and broadband operators. Visit http://www.ruckuswireless.com About the Delta School District The Delta School District is home to 26 elementary schools, seven secondary schools and is proudly represented by over 16,000 students. The District's commitment to quality education is reflected through its mission "To enable all students to meet the challenge of a changing society." Known for its forward thinking and innovative approach in learning, the Delta School District fosters individual growth and enables students to excel academically, athletically and personally. The District has an excellent reputation both provincially and internationally, which is demonstrated by the consistent high levels of achievement and overall student success. For more information please visit http://web.deltasd.bc.ca.
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