San Francisco Unified School District

Smarter Wireless that “Just Works” Transforms the Educational Process in over 130 Schools with Tens of Thousands of Wi-Fi Users

The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) had a BIG problem. With 9,000 employees and 55,000 students in more than 130 K-12 schools, SFUSD’s legacy wireless network, initially installed to provide basic administrative access, just wasn’t delivering the performance and reliability needed to run an efficient school district chartered with delivering a 21st century education.

Wi-Fi signal coverage was spotty, performance was inconsistent, WLAN management was complex and cumbersome and the network just couldn’t keep up with the concurrent client capacities driven by an ever-increasing population of wireless devices.

Moreover, most of the schools within the district, built in the 1930s and 40s were constructed with “RF unfriendly” materials such as cinder block concrete, lathe and plaster and security glass with metal meshing. This made delivering a fast, pervasive and stable wireless experience a daunting task. “With a networking staff of five, we didn’t really know how we were going to be able to deploy such a massive wireless infrastructure in an efficient and cost-effective manner given the time, resource and financial constraints we faced,” said Erik Heinrich, Director of Technology for SFUSD. “But today, because digital content is essential to the educational process, we didn’t really have a choice.”

  • A unified, indoor/outdoor wireless LAN that could be easily and centrally managed
  • Ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage and strong signalstrength to deliver high data rates to thousands of current clients
  • The ability for the WLAN to automatically adapt Wi-Fi signals within buildings constructed of “RF unfriendly” materials
  • Seamless WLAN integration with existing Active Directory authentication domain
  • Higher capacity client support per AP
  • Simple to administer guest access
  • Stronger BYOD support with automatic device provisioning and policy enforcement
  • Deployed 1,500 dual-band RUCKUS® Smart Wi-Fi 802.11n and 802.11ac access points
  • Centralized WLAN management with Redundant, high capacity ZoneDirector 5000 controllers in the SFUSD data center
  • Simplified BYOD device provisioning and automated the enforcement of user policies
  • Increased Wi-Fi coverage, tripled client throughput and improved signal strength and wireless reliability
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