Education with a Mission: Creating a Next Generation All-Wireless School
Hasseris Gymnasium, a development-oriented school located in the Danish city of Aalborg, employs approximately 100 staff to oversee more than 750 students. With a clear focus on talent development, the school offers a wide range of specially designed courses covering a range of topics, from science and social studies to the humanities. The idea is to encourage young learners to strive to be inquisitive thinkers and communicators, always with open minds. Additional emphasis is placed on being caring but also encouraging qualities such as risk-taking, balance, and reflection.
In short, Hasseris Gymnasium is not just a place to come and passively receive teaching before returning home. Indeed, there are also plenty of extracurricular leisure activities, where the school provides a framework for enjoyment and fun. Students are encouraged to investigate, collaborate, produce, and express themselves. Children can learn to play instruments, for example, or join a band. Alternatively, there are sports teams to join and a variety of related activities. Both inside the classroom and out-, this is an ideal environment for students to discover and develop themselves.
As part of the school’s mission to provide all students with a quality educational experience — one which allows them to achieve their full academic potential — technology has become a central teaching aid. Determined to become a leading school, providing students with a complete education, the school found that it needed to upgrade its network infrastructure to achieve its ambitious goals.
It's the same for schools as it is for every other organization: demand for connectivity keeps on growing. And over the last few years, providing teachers and students with instant network access — to online learning tools, approved web-based content, e-books, and assessments — has become as important as access to traditional textbooks. However, a large number of concurrent users surfing the Internet was beginning to strain the school's legacy network. Catering to more than 1500 individual wireless devices with plans to increase the figure to 2500 in the future, around 1000 devices were accessing the network every day — not including personal wireless devices — making a fast, reliable, and secure wireless network key to future growth.
The school's Information Technology (IT) team quickly recognized that it needed to replace the wired network with a next generation Wi-Fi 6 network that could excel, providing robust coverage across classrooms, auditoriums, and offices. In addition, IT staff hoped to simplify network management with cloud-based management, and make new service deployment far faster.
With a firm focus on ensuring an exceptional learning experience for every single student, Hasseris Gymnasium was determined to deploy an innovative solution that would provide safe connectivity and reliable coverage throughout its facilities. With a plan to use more cloud-based services and platforms in the future, the school needed network infrastructure that could also make this happen.
"Over the past nine years, we've been satisfied with hardware from another vendor," said Thomas Fogh Thomsen, IT Manager at Hasseris Gymnasium. "However, providing sufficient wireless coverage at the campus, especially during graduation ceremonies or other large gatherings in our venues, was a challenging experience. By 2020, we decided to replace our Local Area Network (LAN) infrastructure with Wi-Fi and strive for the concept of 'Wi-Fi first'."
The project began with a search for a high-end Wi-Fi solution, one that could implement real-time analysis and monitoring, automation, and intelligent Operations and Maintenance (O&M). The solution would also have to be able to deliver high-quality wireless services and enable increased performance across the board. After a thorough review of available products, the Gymnasium conducted Proof of Concept (PoC) tests to compare all mainstream vendors. "In February 2020, we completed several PoCs from a range of high-end Wi-Fi suppliers, but quickly settled on Huawei. For Hasseris Gymnasium in 2020, Wi-Fi is critical infrastructure, and with over 1500 devices online, we required network stability and speed. Huawei kick-started the project by putting themselves in our shoes," Mr. Fogh Thomsen said. "The team completed thorough PoC testing, which, in turn, made us feel absolutely safe about our solution choice."
With Huawei products having proven levels of performance, responsiveness, and customer-centricity, after several rounds of technical discussion, Hasseris Gymnasium decided on Huawei's CloudCampus Solution, powered by Huawei AirEngine Wi-Fi 6. CloudCampus offers several advantages, from fast deployment to simplified management and diverse advanced applications, helping customers develop core competitiveness for the cloud era.
The solution for the school includes Huawei AC6508, a small-capacity fixed wireless Access Controller (AC), AirEngine AP7060, a cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 wireless Access Point (AP), and AirEngine 8760-X1-PRO, Huawei’s flagship Wi-Fi 6 indoor AP. The Gymnasium also paired this network equipment with Huawei CloudEngine S-Series campus switches. To help reduce both Operating Expenditure (OPEX) and O&M costs, the Huawei team also suggested iMaster NCE-Campus — Huawei's next-generation autonomous driving network management and control system for campus networks — which implements Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based network planning and deployment, supporting automated and intelligent network management and the provisioning of network services in mere minutes. This greatly simplifies network deployment and shortens network construction time. In addition, iMaster NCE-CampusInsight — a campus network analyzer — provides an excellent network service experience by analyzing each user's data at every moment, helping to troubleshoot network anomalies and optimize the network rapidly and in real-time.
Facing an increasing number of wireless users and growing demand, the Huawei CloudCampus Solution helped Hasseris Gymnasium build a one-stop network management center, powered by industry-leading cloud management architecture. With automated and intelligent network management, it's now far easier to check the network's current status and ensure network security. The school's IT team is also confident the system can be expanded with ease, to accommodate more students and school staff as required. This is particularly important considering the rapid growth the school has been enjoying and expects to in the future.
From smartphones to tablets and laptops, students can now access the network using a full range of devices from anywhere on campus, fostering collaboration between students and staff. And when the Gymnasium hosts gatherings and events, it can now rely on uninterrupted Wi-Fi access, even when crowds are dense. Indeed, an AirEngine Wi-Fi 6 solution is designed to work seamlessly during extreme traffic peaks, with one eye on future growth, whether that be an increase in the number of users or an expansion of the physical coverage area.
A wireless network brings with it campus-wide connectivity, with the flexibility to provide reliable access everywhere. It helps teachers to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to enrich their teaching. And it helps students do what students do best: learn, grow, and discover.