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April 2007
Volume 10 / Number 4
Case Studies

Xirrus Wireless Makes the Grade from Viewpoint’s Point of View

By Erik K. Linask, Case Study

Founded in 1961 and located in Calabasas, California, Viewpoint School is an independent coeducational college preparatory school with Kindergarten through Grade 12. The school resides on 25 acres in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. With nearly 1,200 students, it is the sixth largest school in the California Association of Independent Schools.

As a leading edge institution, the school feels mobility is a key component to ensuring collaboration within the community and education of its students. In order to facilitate a mobile educational environment, the school deployed a campus-wide WiFi (News - Alert) solution to make use of the latest teaching methods, including portable classrooms, flexible study areas, and a wide range of wireless clients, like notebooks, handhelds, and phones. Viewpoint wanted a WiFi network to handle its growing user density, bandwidth requirements, and coverage needs.

The Old WiFi
Viewpoint had deployed an 802.11b WiFi network across parts of its campus, but in its quest to expand that network, officials quickly realized it would be overly complicated and would likely still be lacking. The existing access points provided inadequate bandwidth, could support fewer than 40 users each, and barely covered 30,000 square feet.

To make matters worse, the network lacked appropriate security to defend against outside threats. There was no real-time Intrusion (News - Alert) Detection System (IDS) or Intrusion Protection System (IPS). Ultimately, they were not convinced Viewpoint’s existing network would withstand the additional load from more than 400 notebooks and multiple print servers, or provide adequate security and features the school required.

The IT staff knew there had to be a better way.

Viewpoint’s Requirements
• 802.11a/b/g wireless coverage for 400 notebooks and 6 print servers throughout the 25-acre campus.
• Support for a minimum of 75 laptops spread across 3 classrooms from a single access device.
• Triple Play (News - Alert) WiFi for wireless notebooks, security cameras, and event broadcasting.
• Multi-level security to address authentication, encryption, and IDS, IPS.

The Xirrus Solution
As Viewpoint was exploring its options, it was attracted to Xirrus because of its ability to deliver wireless Gigabit capacity, four times the coverage and twice the range of the existing system, and support for as many as 1,000 users from each AP.

During the evaluation process, Viewpoint’s IT staff quickly realized they could easily support three classrooms with a single Xirrus product — deploying and managing fewer devices not only meant the school would save money, but could focus on improving other parts of the network. To wirelessly cover 70% of the campus with more than five Gigabits of high-speed WiFi connectivity, Viewpoint needed only 12 WLAN Arrays (two XS-3900s, nine XS- 3700s, and one XS-3500). The deployment also included one XM-3300 Management Platform to centrally manage the entire network, and two XP- 3100 Remote Power Systems where A/C was not accessible.

The New WiFi
With its new wireless network from Xirrus in place, Viewpoint School now is able to provide the student body, faculty, and even visitors with anytime, anywhere wireless access. It allows users to communicate and collaborate from anywhere on campus — classrooms, lecture halls, student lounges, the library, the cafeteria, or anywhere else they choose to teach, study, and learn. Viewpoint says the improved facilities have enhanced collaboration and increased learning. In fact, Viewpoint now has the infrastructure in place to benefit from the latest communications technologies for education as well as an enhanced campus environment — like triple play services to wireless notebooks, security cameras, event broadcasting, and more.

Viewpoint says that the Xirrus solution has not only met its needs, but has exceeded expectations in terms of installation, capacity and reliability, and TCO.

“We were in search of a better use of our facilities that would encourage collaboration between students and faculty. Xirrus had the best way to maximize our WiFi performance campus wide,” said Paul Rosenbaum, Associate Headmaster & COO at Viewpoint School.

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