San Mateo, CA–November 1, 2006–AirWave Wireless, the leader in wireless network management and security, announced today that the Fairfax County Public Schools use the AirWave Management Platform to operate a wireless network with more than 7,000 individual wireless access points. The company also announced that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) became the first user of AirWave’s new “Executive Portal” feature that permits the district’s network engineers and other school officials to view real-time wireless network usage data from a secure, web-based portal.

With more than 164,000 students enrolled in more than 220 schools, FCPS is the largest school district in the state of Virginia and the thirteenth largest in the United States. It also has a reputation as an innovator in using technology to enrich the classroom experience. Several years ago, FCPS established a goal of providing wireless broadband access to every classroom in the district. As a result, FCPS today operates a network of more than 7,000 Cisco wireless access points, making its wireless LAN one of the largest in the world.

The AirWave Management Platform (AMP) software used to manage and control this network is installed on multiple servers in the district’s network operations center. The district’s network engineers and help desk staff use AMP’s web-based interface to configure and monitor the wireless networks in remote school buildings. While the software is distributed on multiple servers for maximum efficiency and scalability, the AirWave Master Console provides an integrated user interface with visibility to the entire network.

“We selected AMP because it was the only solution that could provide us a with a single management console from which to manage a network of this size and complexity,” said Neal Shelton, FCPS’ Network Engineering Supervisor. “With thousands of devices to manage in hundreds of schools located miles apart, we needed a centralized solution to automate routine processes like configuration management and firmware distribution,” he added.

With thousands of simultaneous network users, FCPS’s user support staff can receive hundreds of wireless-related support calls in a month. Using the AirWave software, the Network Engineering team can view historical trend reports as well as detailed real-time information on every user and device on the network, even generating RF maps showing their location on a building floorplan.

“The simplicity and ease of use of the AirWave Management Platform are critically important to our staff,” noted Jason Jones, Senior Network Engineer. “If a class is using the wireless network for an exercise has a problem, we need to resolve it as soon as possible, so they don’t lose the entire instructional period to network downtime. With AirWave, our IT staff can access critical information to diagnose problems right away, while the user is on the phone,” he added.

While FCPS’s IT staff needed a single console to manage its vast network, they also wanted to provide clear visibility to network usage to network administrators and managers. “The school district and the residents of Fairfax County made a substantial investment in wireless technology on behalf of our students and teachers,” said Matt Fry, Wireless Network Engineer. “It’s very important to maintain transparency and visibility, to show them how that investment is being used in the schools.” The new “Executive Portal” feature in the AirWave software, developed with input from FCPS, allows officials from outside the IT department to browse to a web page on the FCPS intranet to view real-time and historical data on wireless network usage district-wide and on a school-by-school basis.

We are very pleased to have been selected by a leading district like Fairfax County Public Schools,” said AirWave CEO Gary Hegna. “The district’s drive to use technology to improve student’s educational experience is truly remarkable, and their ability to efficiently operate one of the world’s largest wireless networks is a testament to the skill and dedication of their IT staff.”

About AirWave

AirWave Wireless, Inc. is the leading developer of network management software solutions that provide administrators a single point of intelligent control to monitor, analyze, and configure their wireless network infrastructure. The privately held company is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and is backed by investors Westbury Equity Partners, Ignition Partners and Idealab. The company’s patent-pending AirWave Management Platform” software is sold through a global network of value-added resellers and systems integrators. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.airwave.com.

About the Author:

eSchool News