E-rate friendly funding options for scalable wired and wireless networking ensures students have the access they need to succeed in today’s learning environment.

Every day more and more students and faculty are bringing more and more devices into the classroom; from computers, to smartphones, to tablets. We also know that not all K-12 networks are ready to handle the onslaught of demand for high-performance connectivity, nor are they equipped to handle the security exposure that these devices introduce. Add to that the very real budgetary constraints faced by many school districts and, well you get the picture.

Students with tablet at whiteboard for blog

Level the funding playing field
We’ve been involved with the E-rate program since it began in 1998, so we know what works and what doesn’t. In 2015 the program committed to allocate up to $150 USD per student (with an annual increase of 1%) over five years, for the purchase of affordable telecommunications and internet access. And while funding is allocated based on need, this assistance can be a real differentiator and provide real opportunities for schools that would not otherwise be able to tackle the cost of implementing the necessary technology on their own.

Flexible funding options and a scalable solution
Based our experience with E-rate, we've put together best practices on planning, product eligibility, and status. The Alcatel-Lucent OmniVista® Cirrus Cloud Networking solution checks all of the boxes. The high-performance network infrastructure is simple to deploy, operate, maintain and it’s secure.

The harsh reality of budgetary constraints often dictate technology decisions. The good news is, OmniVista Cirrus is available as a CAPEX option if you’ve got the cash and it makes sense to spend it now. If however, you require financial flexibility without compromising your technology decisions, a service-based option in 1, 3 and 5-year terms may be a better alternative. The ALE Education team have the programs to assist you.

Business man using calculator for blog

The scalable network solution with unified cloud-based management of on-premises LAN switches and Wi-Fi Access Points (APs) frees you up to do all the other tasks your position requires. In addition to traditional network management functions, OmniVista Cirrus integrates guest access, BYOD support and analytics at no additional cost. And, with security baked into every component, at every layer of the network, well you can sit back and take a breath.

For those who like a deeper dive
Here you go! All of the WLAN AP’s use the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, and provide state-of- the-art Gigabit wireless LAN connectivity. You can also choose from a selection of access, distribution and core switches ranging from 1Gig to 100G to make sure there are no bottlenecks in the network. The WLAN APs incorporate an innovative distributed controller functionality – that means no WLAN controller is needed. It also eliminates the possibility of a single point of failure and provides a robust architecture, with better scalability.

Here’s something you’ll really like. OmniVista Cirrus Cloud Networking offers DPI (deep packet inspection) on the edge and full Layer 7 visibility. We enable you to truly see the activity within the network.

How about management, you ask? Cirrus Cloud Networking is simple to manage and maintain. A single management system for both wired and wireless networking devices means there is no duplication of tasks, all the information is available in a single view, the policies are the same for the LAN and WLAN. You can count on intelligent automation which includes “call home” capabilities in the hardware and a setup workflow assistant in the cloud-based management system. And, Cirrus Cloud Networking has flexible support levels to meet your needs.

We know that the number of devices flowing into schools is not going to slow down anytime soon and as demand escalates for secure access we hope that you’ll look to the OmniVista Cirrus Cloud Networking solution to deliver the best possible option for your students and a simple, smart and secure solution that works for your financial scenario. 

For more information, visit ALE resources for K-12 schools.

Tags - Education - K12, Education - Erate, Education

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About the author
David Croston

David Croston

Vice President, Education Sales, North America

David Croston is the Vice President of the Education Sector for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise for North America.  He directs a national Education Team comprised of Account Directors, Pre-Sale Engineers and Architects.  David has been thought leader in education for over 20 years; and, is past Chair of his local School Board.  David joined ALE in 2016 and directed the East Sales Team.  Prior to ALE, David successfully started a series of networking and security companies each focused on ‘as a service’ business models.  David has developed subscription-based services in VPN, public key infrastructure, healthcare record exchange and web services security.

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