Ruckus Wireless and Brocade Deliver Gigabit Class Smart Wi-Fi Deployment


Ruckus Wireless, Inc. and Brocade have implemented Gigabit Class Smart Wi-Fi Deployment at Chico Unified School District (USD) and Souderton Area School District. These schools have deployed a joint Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi wireless and Brocade wired network infrastructure solution to support 21st century digital learning techniques.

Ruckus Wireless and Brocade are working together as technology ecosystem partners to deliver end-to-end, open standards, best-of-breed network solutions to help joint customers reduce costs, improve performance and have better flexibility to adapt to future needs.


Chico Unified School District (USD), comprised of 21 schools that serve over 12,000 students, selected, deployed and standardized on a Ruckus and Brocade wireless/wired network solution to meet its current and future networking needs. The District needed to replace an aging HP legacy network infrastructure to meet the rapidly growing requirements driven by the campus-wide deployment of over 3,000 Chromebooks, as well as an additional 2,000 planned for the new 2015-2016 school year. Additionally, the District recognized the growing need to support a plethora of smartphones and other personal devices that students and staff bring to school themselves.

The Chico USD network includes over 400 Ruckus ZoneFlex indoor and outdoor access points (APs), including the industry’s first to ship 802.11ac Wave 2 access point, the Ruckus ZoneFlex R710, providing coverage for the District’s classrooms and offices, in addition to its stadiums, parking lots and sports fields.

The wireless network is managed by Ruckus ZoneDirector™ controllers to enable simple, secure mobility with very high availability. Brocade ICX® switches connect the APs, and with link aggregation, can support up to 2 Gbps backhaul from the Ruckus ZoneFlex R710 APs to meet the most extreme network demands.

“We realized that with the growth in end-user devices and in-class applications, our network needed to support a very high user density in addition to providing fence-to-fence coverage,” said John Vincent, director of Technology at Chico USD. “With Ruckus, we are able to fully meet user requirements using one AP for every two classrooms. Brocade impressed us with their record of strong innovation in developing their own unique switching products, instead of just buying other companies’ technology or developing ‘me-too’ offerings.“

Souderton Area School District, located north of Philadelphia, PA, has deployed a Ruckus and Brocade network solution across its nine schools, serving 6,500 students to support 1:1 Chromebook deployments. “We are currently supporting over 15 all-digital classrooms for Math, English and the Social Sciences so our teachers can learn what instructional methods work best in different disciplines,” notes Tim Roberts, supervisor of Technology at Souderton Area School District.

“Our Ruckus and Brocade best-in-class solution is providing an ideal foundation for teachers to not only learn how to teach differently, it is also helping them determine what methods really make the class ‘pop’ and drive superior student outcomes,” added Roberts. “We deployed one Ruckus AP in every two classrooms and it is working great, even with one-to-one client deployments in the classrooms. We have a very lean IT staff, so our goal is ‘set it and forget it’, which is just what we’re getting from Ruckus and Brocade.”

“These latest K-thru-12 education wins are tangible representations of how Ruckus and Brocade provide customers with a best-in-class, wireless plus wired solution, featuring our carrier-class Smart Wi-Fi technology coupled with highly scalable, distributed chassis campus LAN technology from Brocade,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, chief operating officer, Ruckus Wireless. “Together with Brocade, we can provide a wired and wireless solution that avoids single vendor lock-in.”

“The New IP, which is based on open standards, enables customers to leverage best-in-class wired and wireless solutions in addressing their network challenges,” said Jason Nolet, senior vice president, Switching, Routing and Analytics Products Group, Brocade. “The Brocade campus network and Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi solution provides customers like Chico USD and Souderton ASD with the flexibility, scalability and performance they need to meet school testing requirements, provide better online access and improve student learning.”

Both Chico USD and Souderton ASD deployed their Ruckus-Brocade network infrastructure solutions in time to utilize for Common Core testing. “The first big test was supporting Common Core testing requirements, and the network performance was flawless,” said Patrick Bossetti, network analyst at Chico USD. “In fact, one of our schools has taken out all their wired devices and has gone 100% wireless.” Souderton also saw very robust network support during its Common Core testing. “Our Ruckus-Brocade network provided an ideal platform for Common Core,” said Roberts. “The only time it slowed down at all was over lunch, and we found out that in addition to the 60 testing stations set up in classrooms, another 300 personal devices in use in the adjacent cafeteria were connected to a single Ruckus AP. It was incredible performance.”

Concluded Chico USD’s Vincent, “Ruckus and Brocade technology made the decision an easy one for us. Together, they provide a great deal of innovation to improve network performance, simplify operations and reduce our total cost of ownership. The combined Ruckus-Brocade solution has met or exceeded every expectation we had when we planned this deployment.”

Chico USD and Souderton ASD join other school districts across the U.S. that are making the move to Ruckus Wave 2 Gigabit Wi-Fi, including Columbia Public Schools (MO), Shelby County Schools (TN), Pitt County Schools (NC), and Vancouver Public Schools (WA).