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Published on February 1st, 2013 | by Alexis Argent

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British Council Saudi Arabia Chooses Aerohive to Provide Best of Breed Learning Tools for Students

Aerohive Networks, the leader in controller-less Wi-Fi and cloud-enabled enterprise networking, today announced that the British Council, the UK charitable organisation that provides international educational and cultural opportunities, has deployed an Aerohive Wi-Fi Solution in its education centre in Saudi Arabia. The Aerohive network will support BYOD initiatives at the charity and enable best of breed e-learning tools for its highly expectant students.

The WLAN, implemented with support from Aerohive partner SystemRapid, is providing high-performance Wi-Fi to the Council’s staff and hundreds of students of all ages across its world-class learning centre. The organisation is also using Aerohive’s Bonjour Gateway to manage and control Apple service availability, such as AirPlay, AirPrint and collaboration applications, that are increasingly critical for interactive learning in today’s teaching environment. In addition, the British Council, Saudi Arabia is taking advantage of Aerohive’s TeacherView app, that provides student connection status to the teacher at login, without requiring any configuration.

Aerohive are well known for their Indoor Wi-Fi Solutions, through products such as the Aerohive HiveAP 20, the Aerohive HiveAP 110 and the Aerohive HiveAP 340

Aerohive HiveAP110

As an educational and cultural organisation renowned for its creative ideas and achievements, technology within the classroom environment plays a critical role in the on-going development plans of the British Council, Saudi Arabia. Providing students with uninterrupted and secure wireless access throughout the learning centre is crucial as students increasingly bring their own smart devices, such as iPads, onto the campus to learn.

Consequently the IT department needed a solution that could meet the high demand for Wi-Fi access from students and staff using these mobile internet devices, a way to manage increasingly complex security and access policies, the provision of e-learning facilities such as mobile apps and e-books, and the ability to cope with the accompanying surge in traffic on the WLAN network.

The teaching centre assessed other WLAN solutions, including from Cisco, but opted for Aerohive because of its controller-less architecture and cloud-based centralised management. In addition, its linear pricing model means any number of Aerohive AccessPoints (APs) can be added as and when needed. This would enable the solution to easily scale with any future development plans.

As the popularity of Apple technology continues to grow amongst students and for use in educational environments, Apple TVs are now increasingly seen as an alternative to whiteboards. Enabling sharing services such as AirPlay between devices in the classroom has therefore become critical. The Bonjour Gateway overcomes the challenges inherent in Apple’s “zero configuration networking” when taken out of its native home environment. The solution enables service advertisements to bridge multiple subnets, that make up the network topology of many education establishments like the British Council’s in Saudi Arabia, and make sure services are enabled based on identity, location, and time.

As an out-of-band technology, the Bonjour Gateway only participates in the network service advertisement and not the service (AirPlay, AirPrint) itself, allowing the learning centre’s existing security policy to be maintained, and ensuring the gateway does not become a bottleneck for the British Council.

With students increasingly bringing their own devices into the classroom, teachers are at a disadvantage when trying to see what exactly their students are looking at. With TeacherView, the British Council’s teachers can simply log in and are immediately presented with a view of what is happening on all student laptops or devices in the lesson.

The British Council Saudi Arabia has installed AP 120’s in all its classrooms. The new Aerohive WLAN solution means the school can offer reliable, secure internet access to all students and teachers regardless of what device they are using.

Aerohive’s HiveManager® Online Network Management System is enabling the IT department to manage and control network and user access from the cloud – using many automated tools – from a single location. The user profiling function means that the team can now easily authorise access for guests, students and staff according to their specific needs, without any added management overheads.
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As one our key clients in the region, it was important to carefully match the technology and solution which best suited their needs. With controller-less architecture, innovative features, simple installation and management, Aerohive Networks AP’s were the obvious choice,” explains Sajid Saleh Hafesjee, Senior Technical Consultant, SystemRapid, Saudi Arabia.

“We required a flexible WLAN solution that was scalable enough to accommodate all of our educational needs and we soon recognised the potential benefits of a centrally managed network. Aerohive’s linear pricing model was also a factor in our decision to choose Aerohive – having the flexibility to add APs as and when we need them wasn’t an option with controller based solutions from other market leaders like Cisco,” explains Adil Mohammed, IT Manager, British Council, Saudi Arabia.

“As more employees and students bring their consumer devices onto the campus, BYOD is becoming a critical movement that IT administrators must support; and as iPads have become a more prevalent learning tool in our classrooms, controlling and giving the devices uninterrupted access to the internet is key to succeeding in our vision,” concludes Adil Mohammed, IT manager, British Council, Saudi Arabia.

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