Al Nahda National Schools in Abu Dhabi Deploys Aruba Wi-Fi to Transform Educational Experience


Aruba Networks has announced that Al Nahda National Schools in Abu Dhabi, has deployed an Aruba-powered wireless infrastructure to provide connectivity between their distributed campuses, which has allowed the introduction of cutting-edge technologies that have revolutionized teaching and learning.

As a result of the new infrastructure, the schools now encourage their students and faculty to embrace the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend and access e-learning applications on their mobile devices.

“Under the futurist vision of our DG Saeed Abdullah Al Junaibi, and Deputy General Director Mrs. Basma Al Junaibi and the Consultant of Information Technology and Communication Engineer Amal Al Junaibi, our schools remain leading educational institutions committed to providing our students and teachers access to the latest technology learning tools. This has required introducing a number of IT applications and solutions which could only be deployed if we had a stable and secure high-performance wireless connectivity platform in place,” said Dr. Adnan Abbas of Boys Schools.

Performance, visibility and control were the key requirements of the new wireless infrastructure. The schools’ IT department partnered with UAE-based systems integrator, iDigamma Solutions, who proposed a wireless solution from Aruba Networks featuring Aruba ClearPass Access Management System, to address all of Al Nahda National Schools’ network security and access control requirements from a single platform.

“We placed a great deal of emphasis on access control. Parents needed to be reassured that while we were going to offer internet access to their children, it would be done in a manner that would not disrupt or detract their education,” said Eng. Hatim Lrhorfi, Project Manager at Al Nahda National Schools. Working closely with Lrhorfi, Fadi Najjar, Business Development Manager at iDigamma Solutions, assisted by their engineer’s teams conducted a careful analysis of the system’s requirements. “iDigamma treats each project as a unique entity as every customer has its own specific needs. Owing to our team’s expertise and our close relationship with both, Al Nahda National schools and Aruba, we were quick to address every concern and put forward the best possible solution to meet the schools’ present and future Wi-Fi requirements,” said Fadi Najjar.

Oxygen Middle East, an official distributor for Aruba Networks with several customer references in the region also supported iDigamma Solutions in this project.

“To help ensure maximum coverage and ample bandwidth for all connected devices, the team decided to deploy one Access Point (AP) per classroom and selected compact and cost-effective Aruba wireless APs for this purpose. In total 185 APs were used in the girls’ school and a further 100 were deployed in the boys’ school, in different VLAN’s to ensure maximum security and user privacy. Each campus leveraged an Aruba 7200 series Mobility Controller and deployed Aruba ClearPass for access management. A VPN connection was also set up between the two schools in order to facilitate easier management and better collaboration,” said Lrhorfi.

With the new solution in place, Al Nahda National Schools now had the platform needed to revolutionize teaching and learning. It introduced the latest education solutions such as the Model Learning Management System (LMS), LiveText strategic planning tool, eResources from Pearson SuccessNet, an online teaching and learning environment, as well as equipped classrooms with the latest smart-boards and projectors. The solution’s ability to provide seamless connectivity between the two school campuses has proved to be an invaluable aid to collaboration. Users can now communicate in real time, and instantaneous file sharing is now possible.

“As our students and faculty have become increasingly familiar with the new IT systems, we are now looking at new ways to innovate. For example, we now make students’ report cards available through our online portal and provide parents with a rich set of features that allow them to analyze their children’s progress with far greater insight,” said Lakshmi, ICT Co-ordinator at Al Nahda National Girls Schools. “All the new technologies that the Wi-Fi infrastructure has enabled us to introduce have become added selling points for our institution. As we continue to incorporate an increasing number of processes into the online environment, we have also realized a significant reduction in paper consumption. As an environmentally conscious institution, we believe this is also a very important benefit.”

ClearPass has given Al Nahda National Schools the ability to support BYOD and helps ensure that only the required access is granted to users, thus enabling them to be as productive as possible. The IT team can manage the wireless network across both schools from a single location and application deployment has also been centralized. Today, the team is no longer tasked with physically managing each AP in the network. Aruba’s mobility controllers have eliminated the need for this, while also enabling software updates to be automatically pushed to each AP. The efficient design provided by Aruba Networks has meant that even with coverage extending to 7000 users, the network never fails or drops its performance.