School WLAN design: Top-of-Line Wi-Fi 6 and an AP in Every Classroom

jim-stewart Jim Stewart April 22, 2019

As we are fond of saying around here at Ruckus HQ (and in the field, and on the phone, and in webinars, over drinks, etc.) all answers in Wi-Fi begin with, “it depends”. As a rule of thumb, and this has been consistent for many years, a school typically needs 1 Ruckus AP for every other classroom.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a budgetary estimate for a school by looking at a site-map, counted the classrooms, divided that number by half and added 10% for cafeterias/gyms/auditoriums, then sat down with a design tool like the hoary old ZonePlanner and hit my original number within 1-2 APs.

Ruckus APs are designed to maximize coverage area and total client capacity, with numerous RF innovations, not limited to our directionally adaptive BeamFlex+ smart antennas. Even though careful design and site-surveys of the past almost always aligned with “1 Ruckus AP, every other classroom,” you have to look out for the it depends. With the advent of Wi-Fi 6 and the Ruckus R730 AP, an important new it depends has become common in schools.

Wi-Fi is well past being a “nice to have” anymore. It is a given part of the infrastructure in schools. Wi-Fi is not new and if the school building isn’t brand new, if got cabled for Wi-Fi years ago, and not necessarily from Ruckus. Maybe it was from Vendor C or Vendor A, and deployed as one AP (or more!) in every classroom. Now the time has arrived for a network refresh and the preferred vendor is, naturally, Ruckus Networks.

The cabling is already there for an AP for every classroom, the kids have so many more devices than they did even a few years ago, and E-Rate (in the US) is paying for it. The Ruckus R730 is our flagship 8x8 MU-MIMO 802.11ax AP, so it should be able to elevate the classroom experience and future proof the school for years to come, right? Why not go with R730s one per room and future proof the whole thing?!

Why not indeed? In fact, such a design may help with IoT and other converged networking.  Such a network design will have tremendous capacity if it is configured properly, and it will be a hot mess if it isn’t.

Next: The configuration checklist for 1 R730 per classroom

About the Author


Jim Stewart

Technical Marketing Manager


WiFi 101