St Augustine’s RC High School has improved wireless connectivity and future-proofed its network with a new WiFi 6 solution from education wireless experts Redway Networks. The school’s new Cisco Meraki WiFi 6 technology will provide the school with superior wireless coverage and reliable, fast access to digital education materials.
St Augustine’s is a mixed Roman Catholic High School which has grown steadily in popularity since its original intake in 1963 to one of the largest Catholic high schools in Lancashire. The school is focused on inspiring, encouraging and supporting its pupils which is reflected in its strong academic results. With more than 500 student laptops, staff iPads and other devices all connecting to the network, reliable wireless connectivity is essential.
Existing WiFi needs replacing
Paul Bowie, ICT Manager at St Augustine’s says: “Our WiFi infrastructure was 9 year’s old and with some past and some recent changes being made, the coverage wasn’t 100%. We wanted to future proof our network for additional technology such as 1:1 computing so we decided to take the leap to a WiFi 6 environment. I had previous experience of Cisco Meraki and knew its cloud-managed WiFi would give us the quality and performance we required with easy-to-manage network control. I then needed to find an independent wireless specialist with both Meraki product knowledge and experience in the education sector who could deliver a seamless end-to-end WiFi project.”
Paul continues: “Redway Networks was recommended and when I spoke to their WiFi specialist I was instantly put at ease and knew Redway would be a good company to work with. We went through our school’s requirements and the advice and technical product knowledge I received from Redway was first-class. We looked at other WiFi products, but for me Meraki was head and shoulders above the rest. I was impressed with how slick Meraki looks and the simplicity of its dashboard interface. In addition, I liked the look of Meraki’s access points and knew they would blend in nicely with our school environment”.
School selects Meraki
St Augustine’s then selected Redway Networks to provide Meraki’s MR36 cloud-managed WiFi 6 access points with an 11-year centralised cloud-managed licence and services including WiFi survey, design, and configuration.
The first part of the project was to determine access point positioning, coverage and performance, so Redway’s certified Ekahau engineer conducted a remote survey overlaid on the school’s plans using Ekahau’s high-definition visual heat mapping software. Paul says: “The work Redway’s engineer did with the WiFi survey software was amazing, I’ve never seen Ekahau in action before and I was really impressed.”
Redway delivers a seamless Meraki project
Once the WiFi visualisations were approved, Redway Networks configured the new Meraki wireless solution and St Augustine’s school now has a hyper-reliable WiFi 6 solution that delivers seamless connectivity, greater coverage and complete network management and security.
Paul says: “We now have complete network visibility, and the reporting is seamless. If a device or application goes offline, I will get an email alert within 15 minutes of the system seeing an issue and I can then go to the cloud-controller and fix the problem. As Meraki reports to exactly where the device is plugged into, I can isolate it from my desk and bring it back online without having to physically go to the
access point or device. Being able to do this has saved me considerable time and has reduced support calls.”
School benefits from faster coverage
The staff at St Augustine’s have also noticed an improvement with the new Meraki WiFi. Paul says:” Staff have commented on how much better the WiFi coverage and speed is so are using it a lot more now, especially in Microsoft Teams’ meetings as the performance is much better. Users can also access and download digital learning resources much faster which has improved information sharing, collaboration and the student experience”.
Paul concludes: “Meraki from Redway Networks has exceeded all our expectations and I know it has the capacity to support all our educational technology needs in the future. The Redway Networks’ team were very knowledgeable with everything we threw at them and I was really impressed with how smoothly the project went from start to finish. Redway and our school team worked really well together so credit to all of them.”