Amanda Hassall, Director, Cobra Public Relations
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All schools in Northern Ireland will now have access to wireless services as part of a £170 million Education Network Northern Ireland (EN(ni)) contract. Meru Networks (www.merunetworks.com) a pioneer in 802.11n wireless enterprise networking, is partnering with Northgate Managed Services to provide state-of-the-art Wi-Fi connectivity to over 350,000 teachers and pupils in 1,200 schools.
The cloud-based network – the first of its kind within education in Europe – has been designed to create a dynamic, future-proof, flexible service that will give schools increased access to learning resources and enable teachers and pupils to better collaborate and communicate. Schools will have greater flexibility and choice in how wireless is used across the curriculum, as the solution allows teachers and students to access the network and resources securely via personal devices, such as smartphones, iPads, tablet PCs and laptops. Teachers and students will also be able to use educational resources and toolsets through Northgate’s My-School learning portal.
“We are thrilled that Meru’s wireless technology is such an integral part of the project,” said Bami Bastani, president and Chief Executive Officer from Meru Networks. “Cloud-based WLAN connectivity is a major advancement for learning environments because it offers flexibility and choice to organisations that are struggling with the demand for fast, reliable and robust Wi-Fi to support large numbers of mobile devices being brought onto campuses. Our proven ability to deliver reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi in such dense and diverse environments makes us a natural choice for schools. Our solutions are designed for simplicity and flexibility and yet they meet the demand for wireless in these fierce conditions.”
The Meru wireless network will be built around 10,000 access points located throughout the school buildings, and 38 MC4200 controllers in a central data centre. The data centre will be connected by superfast telecoms connections to the access points on the schools’ premises.
A Meru Education partner of three years, Northgate will take responsibility for all aspects of the installation and ongoing service, including the wide area network (WAN), wireless local area network (WLAN) and telecoms services. The five-year contract will see Northgate design, implement, manage and support the network and will ensure secure access to network resources 24x7 from a wide range of devices. The network will be designed to enable computing resources to be scaled to meet the needs of schools both today and in the future.
Andy Ross, Chief Executive, Northgate Managed Service, said: "This is a tremendous achievement for the company and is one that clearly positions both Northgate as a leading provider of innovative wireless services for schools and Meru as the wireless innovator of choice. Building the first Education Cloud in Europe is a significant point in the company’s history and creates a fantastic platform for future growth in the UK and beyond.”
Jimmy Stewart, Director, Classroom 2000 (C2k), the organisation that procures technology for schools in Northern Ireland, added: "The new service has been designed to recognise the educational requirements of schools in Northern Ireland, deliver technology-driven learning environments and incorporate the very latest innovations in technology."
Meru Networks currently has over 1,000 Education customers in the UK and Ireland and is adding nearly 15 Education customers per week.
About Northgate Managed Services
Northgate Managed Services provides cloud based and infrastructure services to public, private and third sector organisations and specialist managed services in the education, government, utilities and charities sectors. Northgate supports over 2,000 customers across the UK as well as over 1,300 primary schools and colleges. To learn more about Northgate, visit our website or call +44 (0)208 339 7440.
About Meru Networks
Meru Networks sells virtualised wireless LAN solutions that provide enterprises with the performance, reliability, predictability and operational simplicity of a wired network with the advantages of mobility. Meru's innovative network-in-control architecture virtualises wireless access and produces an intelligent, self-monitoring WLAN. Moving to Meru lets enterprises migrate business-critical applications from wired networks to an all-wireless network able to handle the diversity and density of mobile communication devices. Meru's unique “network-in-control” wireless architecture is used by all major vertical industries including Fortune 500 businesses, health care, education, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and government. www.merunetworks.com.
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