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The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) had a BIG problem. With 9,000 employees and 55,000 students in more than 130 K-12 schools, SFUSD’s legacy wireless network, initially installed to provide basic administrative access, just wasn’t delivering the performance and reliability needed to run an efficient school district chartered with delivering a 21st century education.
Wi-Fi signal coverage was spotty, performance was inconsistent, WLAN management was complex and cumbersome and the network just couldn’t keep up with the concurrent client capacities driven by an ever-increasing population of wireless devices.
Moreover, most of the schools within the district, built in the 1930s and 40s were constructed with “RF unfriendly” materials such as cinder block concrete, lathe and plaster and security glass with metal meshing. This made delivering a fast, pervasive and stable wireless experience a daunting task. “With a networking staff of five, we didn’t really know how we were going to be able to deploy such a massive wireless infrastructure in an efficient and cost-effective manner given the time, resource and financial constraints we faced,” said Erik Heinrich, Director of Technology for SFUSD. “But today, because digital content is essential to the educational process, we didn’t really have a choice.”