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Aberdeenshire plans 4,000 point wireless network


Initial focus on digital learning expands to strengthen infrastructure for whole council in deal with Aerohive Networks

Aberdeenshire Council is planning to deploy a wireless network for its schools and other buildings with a view to supporting more digital learning and beefing up its corporate technology strategy.

The council has signed a deal with Aerohive Networks for a wireless system that will cover 4,000 access points across 170 schools and 50 other sites, in what is the company’s largest UK project to date.

Head of service (ICT) at Aberdeenshire, Nicola Graham, said the move has been prompted by an increased use of digital devices in education, and a 50% increase in the internet bandwidth over the past three years as more council staff made use of wireless technology.

“Our team has a vision that is geared towards digital and we recognised that our old kit wasn’t designed to support e-learning or this increased capacity of devices,” she said. “We evaluated what pain points needed to be addressed now, but also anticipated what we require our network to do in the future.

“The opportunity to change our network meant we could also evaluate what was being used across our corporate offices and public buildings. The number of users and devices which require wireless access has vastly increased since the current wireless solutions were installed.

Pressure points

The council decided that the supplier’s architecture could address existing pressure points and provide the flexibility to meet demands over the next few years. One of the assets is a single-view console that provides a remote view of any issues around the network and makes it possible to fix connection problems.

The network will be implemented across corporate offices, libraries and locations that provide the public with guest access to council services, and to underpin the council’s myaccount portal.

Last year the council adopted the Innovate Aberdeenshire strategy, which includes an emphasis on the use of mobile technology and cites the need for fast broadband and wireless networks as key infrastructure elements.

Image by Paul at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 1.0

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