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Blue Coat School

The Birmingham Blue Coat School is a preparatory school in Birmingham England, founded in 1722. It supports children aged 2 to 11 divided into three sections – Buttons Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep. The Blue Coat School owes its origin to Reverend William Higgs, Rector of St Philip’s Church, Birmingham, now Birmingham Cathedral.

  • Preparatory School – 2-11 years Of Age
  • 650 Students & Staff
  • Flexible, Scalable WiFi Solution Required
  • Aerohive Cloud Managed Solution
  • 59 x Access Points
  • Phased Rollout With No Downtime

What our customers say…

Redway Networks has been first class and we have been thoroughly impressed with the new Aerohive solution

Frankie Paterson, Network Manager, Blue Coat School

The Challenge

While the previous WiFi solution was able to provide sufficient signal strength, the school has in recent years been facing much greater challenges with the density of devices per area. Any new solution therefore needed to be able to provide consistent coverage through the thick walls of the school’s clustered buildings, while also expanding the networks load handling capabilities.

Connectivity and reliability are paramount to the school with Paterson stating, “Due to how important the network is to the learning functions of the school, we can’t afford any downtime during network maintenance, so we needed a solution which was managed in the cloud but was not dependent on the cloud.”

Therefore, the main requirement was to have a system that would manage all the school’s present network needs, while also providing flexibility to adapt and expand in the future. It was a difficult balance for the school’s IT department Paterson observes: “We are seeing an average of 120 connected devices at any one time, with peaks of around 500, so we needed something that was able to handle this density, while also giving us flexibility to expand and adapt to changes in the future.”

The Solution

After investigating several solutions, Blue Coat School felt that Aerohive was the right choice for their needs, due to the ease of maintenance, licensing and reliability.

Immediately the deployment was simplified when the Aerohive AP’s were compatible with the existing mounts, meaning the historic architecture needn’t be disturbed. The new Aerohive access points were able to provide the levels of coverage demanded by this challenging environment, while greatly increasing the capacity of each area to support many devices.

Aerohive is an infinitely scalable solution, working well for the school’s phased roll out. Due to being cloud managed it’s simple to on-board new devices at any stage of the deployment. Additionally, Aerohive’s flexible licensing policy makes it easy for the school to build up its network even further in the future.

Since the initial deployment, Aerohive and Redway Networks have installed over 59 access points across the school. Due to budgetary restrictions, the rollout took place over the course of 6 months, meaning that it ran through term time. Despite this challenge, there was no downtime.

Future Outlook

The Blue Coat School continues to make WiFi and e-learning resources a more common and integral part of the everyday functions of the school. Network downtime has been virtually eliminated due to this easy management, and the APs’ ability to remain online. Finally, the school has been able to work closely with Redway Networks and Aerohive to ensure that their growth plan is fully supported and easy to execute. Reflecting on the new solution, Paterson says “The Aerohive solution is just unique full stop and offers a huge amount of flexibility. We have been thoroughly impressed and it has exceeded our expectations.”

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Redway Networks are specialists in school WiFi surveys and network installations. If you are looking to install a school WiFi network or are having issues with an existing one, contact us and see how we can assist with your next WiFi project.

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