Cisco to put WiFi into 1,900 Australian schools

Von Julian Bajkowski

In one the largest networking deals of the year to date, Australia"s Victoria Department of Education and Training has signed up Cisco Systems Inc. to provide 9,000 wireless access points to 1,600 schools.

Cisco refused to divulge the value of the deal, but the education authority said the wireless LAN equipment is part of a larger, A$6 million WiNS (Wireless Networks for Schools) program being implemented in conjunction with systems integrator IBM Logicalis, employing a team of about 340 contracted field technicians.

Running a combination of 802.11a/b/g standards, the wireless local area network is primarily aimed at supporting notebooks for teachers and departmental staff.

The Cisco rollout consists of 9,000 Aironet 1200 Series access points across a heterogeneous mix of Windows, Apple and open source client operating systems.

The deployment will also feature centralized security management in an attempt to prevent unathorized network access by students, others, from the Internet or by other means.

General manager for the department"s information technology division, Katrina Reynen, said the deployment would provide the "next generation of supportive technology for government schools".

Cisco"s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Ross Fowler described the deployment as a "visionary approach to WLAN by deploying it across hundreds of schools".