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H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Ruler of Dubai — first launched the UAE Centennial Plan 2071 back in 2017, with the express aim of making the UAE one of the best countries in the world, in time for its centenary in 2071. Investment in the country's future generations, to prepare them with the skills and knowledge needed to face — and embrace — rapid change, stands as a key pillar of the Plan.
For the Ministry of Education (MoE), in order to achieve UAE Centennial 2071 — and the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda, which emphasizes the development of a first-rate education system — investment in technology is vital. As such, this has been accepted as an important national approach across government. Accordingly, resources and key capabilities have been directed toward educational infrastructure, to enhance the Emirati School Model — under which all public and private schools following MoE systems share the same curriculum — and make it even more competitive on the global stage.
As COVID-19 has all too ably demonstrated, education systems must now be fit for purpose, to face the immense challenges and disruptions to learning that can arise. Indeed, in order to rapidly react to the pandemic — and continue to support the UAE's overall vision, to develop an innovative education system and a globally competitive knowledge-based society — the MoE turned to an all-wireless network solution from Huawei, to quickly connect people and environments, ensuring the continuity of learning and achieving more streamlined, robust Information and Communications (ICT)-based services. And with the launch of the MoE School Campus and Wi-Fi Innovation Project — which covers over 400 schools — the intelligent education revolution is well underway.
The major objective of the MoE School Campus and Wi-Fi Innovation Project was to achieve seamless connectivity in over 400 schools, by upgrading existing Wi-Fi networks to deliver higher speeds and increased reliability. Such an ambitious network lays a firm foundation for the digital transformation of the education system, in turn delivering a higher quality education experience that allows educators to incorporate new technology — such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and more — into their lessons.
Huawei's network solution also features software recognition, helping to implement control over the websites students visit and the software tools that they use. Given the large number of schools involved and the inevitably high number of networked devices, simplified deployment was also a key focus, alongside improving Operations and Maintenance (O&M) efficiency and reducing O&M costs.
Huawei’s customized approach to the project involved the coordinated deployment of several solutions, to create a robust and reliable centralized Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) system that will be well positioned to meet growing future demand. Indeed, deploying upgraded switches and Access Points (APs), scalability is already built-in: high density Access Controllers (ACs) support up to 20,000 APs and 200,000 students. The initiative represents one of the biggest investment projects in the UAE’s education sector since 2019.
In addition to enhancing connectivity, Huawei’s solution now allows the MoE to manage all 400 schools — and more — from a single platform, supporting a truly experience-centric network. In addition, each school within the network benefits from significantly improved wireless performance, with higher-capacity switching, ultra-low latency, and zero packet loss during roaming. And, with simplified scalability, upgrading to next generation Wi-Fi technology is already supported.
The implementation of the project has helped to achieve a Wi-Fi experience that's available anytime and anywhere across education campuses, from classrooms and libraries to laboratories, gymnasiums, and more. This step on the road toward an intelligent education revolution will help schools to explore advanced, cutting-edge teaching methods: e-schoolbags, smart whiteboards, virtual classrooms, teaching through online interaction, and more.
"The improvement in the network experience has been quite obvious," explained Ehab Eid, Head of Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure for the MoE. "By deploying Huawei’s APs and network solution, we have enhanced the quality of lessons. Now, our teachers can interact with students online — no matter where they are physically located — over high-resolution video, without suffering network interruptions or packet loss. This has definitely accelerated our intelligent education revolution and allows us to explore ever more creative teaching methods. I believe that we will have further opportunities to work with Huawei as we continue to pursue digital transformation in the future."
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