CommScope is gearing up for the Ministry of Education's (MoE) nationwide Ruckus equipment rollout, teaming up with local distributor Exeed to supply tens of thousands of Wi-Fi 6 access points to schools across the country for the major programme.
The project to deploy the access point devices, as well as several thousand multi-gig switches, is being overseen by The Network for Learning (N4L), the government owned provider of network services to schools, which was chosen by the MoE to support school networks with the new CommScope technology.
The project sees CommScope, which acquired networking equipment vendor Ruckus and its parent company Arris in 2019, help 2500 state schools across the country meet the connectivity demands of an ever-changing student population.
Involving the deployment of up to 38,000 Wi-Fi 6 access points and 12,000 multi-gig switches, the deal is anticipated to enable faster and more reliable performance across multiple connected devices in dense campus environments.
Opting for an advanced Wi-Fi 6 approach to its networking overhaul, the Ruckus technology upgrade includes the Wi-Fi 6 certified indoor R650 access points, coupled with ICX7150, ICX7450, ICX7650 and ICX7850 switches with 10GbE connectivity.
Meanwhile, Ruckus SmartZone Controllers will manage both the switching and Wi-Fi networks with extended reporting and network analytics available through the Ruckus Smart Cell Insight (SCI) platform.
It is hoped the technology will have the potential to improve educational outcomes for students across New Zealand by supporting higher data rates, increased capacity and improved power efficiency.
According to CommScope, it is also the first time that New Zealand state schools have been able to bring the management of their entire network onto a single platform.
“We want to equip our students with the right skills through digital technologies,” New Zealand Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure service Kim Shannon said. “Looking to the future, educators have the opportunity to redefine how we communicate and collaborate.
“Reliable and superfast connectivity is giving students the possibility to do things differently and prepare for new skills that don’t yet exist, giving every student the best chance to thrive,” Shannon added.
The latest project developments come several months after N4L revealed it was preparing to appoint a panel of IT support companies to assist with its massive, four-year network upgrade project.
In addition to rolling out new active equipment to the network, such as switches and access points to over 2400 schools, N4L said at the time it was aiming to appoint a panel to help replace the old gear and provide additional services such as cabling and electrical works.
In early May, the government owned network services provider announced the panel of 19 partners that will install the CommScope Ruckus network equipment for the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6.
The two new technology panels were appointed following a competitive tender.
The installer panel includes: ACL Communications, Aotea Group Holdings, Chris Dunn Technologies, Commtech Communications, Datacomms Plus, Data Concepts, ENZEC, Exell Group Services, Foveaux Communications, Garden City Communications, Gilcom Communications (2012), Glenn Cook Technologies, Neltech Communications, Online Communications, PBS Data IT, Saco Cabling, Teltrac Communications, Vitel Cabling and Waikato Cabling and Communications.
A further ten technology companies, the IT panel, were appointed to a second panel that will provide schools tech support for connecting devices to their upgraded network if needed.
They are Aiscorp, Cyclone Computer Company, Fusion Networks, Glenn Cook Technologies, New Era IT, Norrcom, Our School, pcMedia Technologies, RepairIT and Smart Computer Systems.