470-year old Berkhamsted School supports more than 1,400 mobile devices with Meru Education-grade wireless solution

470-year old Berkhamsted School supports more than 1,400 mobile devices with Meru Education-grade wireless solution
Yareah Magazine
Berkhamsted School & Meru

Berkhamsted School & Meru

Meru Wi-Fi enabling 21st century learning initiative, providing the “glue” for education technology across multiple historical and modern sites

Meru Networks today announced that Berkhamsted School, one of Britain’s premier independent schools, has deployed a Meru Education-grade (MEG) wireless solution with Meru Identity Manager to support upwards of 1200 staff and students using 800 school-owned and around 600 student-owned mobile devices. The Meru network also supports voice-over-IP (VoIP), in addition to climate control systems, CCTV and sound and lighting systems in its theatre complex.

“Dealing with our unusual locations would be demanding for any technology vendor, let alone a Wi-Fi provider. Yet the Wi-Fi delivers first time, every time,” said David Pacey, director of IT at Berkhamsted School, which features some buildings dating back to the 1500s with walls eight feet thick and other more modern sites, with large amounts of reflective materials. “Meru’s channel layering technology also allows us to load balance automatically, ensuring we make the best use of all available capacity on the network and maximise coverage across our various sites.”

Berkhamsted School, which recently merged with two other schools in the Hertfordshire area, regards its wireless network as the “glue” in delivery of its education technology and a key component of its four-year technology plan. The network is deployed throughout its historical campus and buildings – some dating back over 470 years – forming the backbone of the school’s investment in 21st century teaching and learning technology. The school selected Meru for its high-density device support and for the ease of deployment and management enabled by Meru’s MobileFLEX architecture.

The school’s deployment of Meru’s Identity Manager software simplifies secure BYOD provisioning for as many as 600 students, contractors and other guests visiting the school every week, dramatically reducing IT workload and helping ensure an excellent wireless user experience. Identity Manager Smart Connect is optimised for both administrators and end users, enabling one-click self-provisioning of client devices for secure 802.1X connectivity. Identity Manager Guest Connect improves guest management by authorising internal sponsors to create guest accounts and enabling guests to securely self-register. Both solutions work over existing network infrastructure with support for access points, controllers and wired switches from any vendor.

“The big revolution in education is mobile – mobile devices are transforming the way we learn and the way we teach,” said Mark Steed, principal at Berkhamsted School. “That functionality and portability between school and home is a true enabler today. We used to collaborate by talking on the train or bus home, now we collaborate all the time using mobile devices. The principles are the same, but the technology is different.”

Meru’s Education-grade (MEG) wireless solution is designed to solve educational institutions’ BYOD (Bring your own device) issues and support their learning-essential applications. MEG starts with three simple steps:

1. On-board quickly with BYOD provisioning and secure wireless access mapped to IT policies.
2. Connect all BYOD devices reliably anywhere on campus.
3. Learn by deploying validated learning and teaching applications on BYOD devices over the MEG wireless solution.

“Berkhamsted has become one of the first independent schools in Britain to adopt campus-wide Wi-Fi,” said Mark Howell, area director for UK and Ireland at Meru Networks. “It needed the reliability and performance of a wireless network that could deliver even in hard-to-reach locations where the signal is traditionally poor. The nature of the school and its 400-year old history presents its own unique challenges, but this hasn’t stopped it from delivering 21st century learning and teaching in an historical setting.”

Berkhamsted joins more than 2,000 schools in UK and Ireland who are currently using Meru MEG solutions. Additional information about the Meru MEG solution is available here:

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