Al Nahda National Schools rolls out new Wi-Fi network

Solution, from Aruba, provides seamless connectivity between distributed campuses

Tags: Al Nahda National Schools (www.nahdaschools.com/)Aruba Networks
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Al Nahda National Schools rolls out new Wi-Fi network With the new solution in place, Al Nahda has been able to pursue new methods of teaching and learning
By  Tom Paye Published  April 8, 2015

Al Nahda National Schools in Abu Dhabi, has deployed a new wireless infrastructure to provide seamless connectivity between their distributed campuses.

According to the organisation, the new solution, provided by Aruba Networks, has allowed the introduction of new technologies that enable new styles of teaching and learning. As a result of the new infrastructure, the schools can encourage students and faculty to embrace BYOD and access e-learning applications on their mobile devices.  

"Under the futurist vision of our director general, Saeed Abdullah Al Junaibi, deputy director general, Basma Al Junaibi and the consultant of IT, Amal Al Junaibi, our schools remain leading educational institutions committed to providing our students and teachers access to the latest technology learning tools," said Dr. Adnan Abbas of Al Nahda's Boys' Schools.  

"This has required introducing a number of IT applications and solutions which could only be deployed if we had a stable and secure high-performance wireless connectivity platform in place."

Performance, visibility and control were the key requirements of the new wireless infrastructure, Al Nahda said. The schools' IT department partnered with UAE-based systems integrator iDigamma Solutions, which proposed a wireless solution from Aruba. And to address Al Nahda's network security and access control requirements, Aruba's ClearPass access management system was recommended.

"We placed a great deal of emphasis on access control. Parents needed to be reassured that while we were going to offer internet access to their children, it would be done in a manner that would not disrupt or detract their education," said Hatim Lrhorfi, project manager at Al Nahda National Schools.

For the Wi-Fi deployment, the team decided to deploy one access point (AP) per classroom. In total, 185 APs were used in the girls' school and a further 100 were deployed in the boys' school, in different VLAN's to ensure security and user privacy, according to Lrhorfi.

"Each campus leveraged an Aruba 7200 series Mobility Controller and deployed Aruba ClearPass for access management. A VPN connection was also set up between the two schools in order to facilitate easier management and better collaboration," he added.

With the new solution in place, Al Nahda had the platform needed to pursue new methods of teaching and learning. It introduced education solutions such as the Model Learning Management System (LMS), LiveText strategic planning tool, eResources from Pearson SuccessNet, an online teaching and learning environment, as well as equipped classrooms with smart-boards and projectors.

The solution also provides connectivity between the two school campuses, which has become essential for collaboration. Users can now communicate in real time, and instantaneous file sharing is now possible, the organisation said.

"As our students and faculty have become increasingly familiar with the new IT systems, we are now looking at new ways to innovate. For example, we now make students' report cards available through our online portal and provide parents with a rich set of features that allow them to analyse their children's progress with far greater insight," said Ms. Lakshmi, ICT co-ordinator at Al Nahda National Girls' Schools.

"All the new technologies that the Wi-Fi infrastructure has enabled us to introduce have become added selling points for our institution. As we continue to incorporate an increasing number of processes into the online environment, we have also realised a significant reduction in paper consumption. As an environmentally conscious institution, we believe this is also a very important benefit."

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