Press Releases

Educational institutions drive adoption of Aruba Wi-Fi 6E for digital classrooms, smart facilities

September 23, 2022

Posted by: Shriya Raban

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has announced that a significant, rapidly growing number of educational institutions in both K-12 and higher education are upgrading their network infrastructures with Wi-Fi 6E to enable the next generation of digital classrooms and campuses. The increased capacity, higher performance, and greater support for client and IoT device density made possible with Wi-Fi 6E, combined with specific innovations in Aruba’s access points (APs), are allowing these institutions to deliver extraordinary campus and classroom experiences for their students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Doane UniversityTexas A&M UniversityMeramec Valley R-III School District, and Festus R-VI School District are just a few of the 250+ educational institutions and more than 1,400 total organisations that have moved to Aruba Wi-Fi 6E APs as a foundation for enabling teaching, learning and smart campus initiatives since Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6E solutions were introduced in May 2021. Industry research firms like 650 Group indicate that these numbers have given Aruba a market-leading position in delivering Wi-Fi 6E infrastructure.

“In the fast-growing and competitive Wi-Fi 6E enterprise Access Point market, Aruba has taken an early lead and has shipped over 35% of all Wi-Fi 6E enterprise APs since the inception of the market,” says Chris DePuy, technology analyst and founder at 650 Group.

Key concerns for educational institutions that are driving this movement to Wi-Fi 6E include the need to accommodate ever-increasing numbers of client and IoT devices connecting to the network, supporting collaboration and innovation, increasing bandwidth to support new use cases such as high-definition video, AR/VR, and distance learning, future proofing their network investments, and meeting the ever-increasing expectations that students, staff and faculty have for ubiquitous, always-on, powerful connectivity.

In addition, K-12 districts and universities alike are integrating IoT devices for student safety, lighting, security cameras, and HVAC solutions all of which become part of the overall building automation and form the foundation for creating smart facilities. The value that institutions can realize from creating smart facilities include supporting sustainability initiatives through conservation as well as cost-savings on resources such as electricity and heating and cooling.

Founded in 1872, Doane University is Nebraska’s oldest private college and is designated as a “Top National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News and World Report. Located in Crete, the University’s main campus is comprised of 21 buildings. including six residence halls that house 800 students. Doane also operates two satellite campuses located in Lincoln and Omaha. The technology department is committed to investing in technology that provides a modern, 21st Century learning experience for their students and building a network for where the University wants to be in the future.

“As we move forward in our digital transformation, we are seeing an exponential increase in student devices, as well as our own IoT devices that need to be on the network,” says Ryan Dorshorst, director of technology operations at Doane University. “We need to support an expanding variety of mission-critical applications that support research and collaboration as well as high-bandwidth applications for learning and entertainment, like streaming video, video communications, and AR/VR. With Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6E APs, we can meet our immediate needs and have the ability to expand to accommodate the future needs of our campus, staff, and students.”

With the largest student body in the United States, Texas A&M University serves nearly 73,000 students and employs more than 11,000 faculty and staff members. The main campus, located in College Station, Texas, spans more than 5,500 acres. Texas A&M offers degrees in more than 130 courses of study through 17 colleges and houses 21 research institutes. The University recently embarked on a journey to create the Next Generation Aggie Network (NGAN) and plans to move the entire campus to Wi-Fi 6E within three years.

“On any given day, we have roughly 120,000 devices on our network,” says Ed Pierson, chief information officer at Texas A&M. “When we started designing NGAN, we needed a resilient network that could scale quickly and easily as our needs evolved. We plan to use our Aruba Wi-Fi 6E network to support indoor location-based services with Open Locate for public safety and Passpoint for DAS implementation. Our focus is on building a smart campus of tomorrow and that requires a secure, reliable, high-performance network. Deploying Wi-Fi 6E was the clear choice, and with our solid partnership with Aruba and our other Aruba solutions in place, we knew we’d be successful in this endeavor.”

Comprised of nine K-12 schools, the Meramec Valley R-III School District in southeastern Missouri serves 3,000 students and employs 450 teachers and staff. With a firm belief that instructional technology should enhance and expand the learning environment, engage students, and enable them to create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically, the district has directed its technology department to facilitate the integration of technology into all areas of the district both inside and outside the classroom.

“Wi-Fi 6E has increased our network performance an average of 10x,” says Debby Haley, director of technology at Meramec Valley. “This means that students and teachers are spending their valuable classroom time engaged instead of waiting for lagging educational materials such as video to load and play.”

Haley continued, “Implementing Aruba Wi-Fi 6E has been such a great improvement over our old technology that we are certain moving forward we will ask for the 6E model in future purchase requests.”

Festus R-VI School District, located south of St. Louis, Missouri, operates four schools with a total enrollment of 3,300 students. The district has the objective to support excellence in teaching, learning, and assessment through effective uses of technology. To support this objective, the district is implementing a comprehensive district-wide technology plan. Critical to that plan is to ensure that staff and students have access to the latest technology to set them up for future success.

“At Festus School District, one of our goals is to make sure students are prepared to succeed when they graduate, whether they go on to college, vocational training, or enter the workforce,” says Josh Bauman, director of technology at Festus R-VI School District. “One of the ways we prepare them is through early adoption of cutting-edge technologies so our students will be familiar and comfortable using technology in their post-K-12 lives. With our recent installation of Aruba 630 Series Wi-Fi 6E access points, we now have ‘future ready’ infrastructure to support our ‘future ready’ students.”

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