Photo - Tan Siao Yuan, Senior Manager of Operations, IT Services - Sunway Education Group.
Sunway Education Group has completed a project using U.S. wireless solution provider Ruckus's Smart Wi-Fi to help give more than 12,000 students 'virtualised' access to high cost educational software applications.
The school's new campus-wide wireless network is powered by more than 100 Ruckus ZoneFlex access points (APs) and managed centrally by Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 controllers, said Sunway Education Group's senior manager of operations, IT services, Tan Siao Yuan.
"In today's IT-enabled learning environment, students at Sunway University and Sunway International School are required to use a wide range of education software tools for e-learning, research, projects, design, and developing print and video presentation materials," said Tan.
"These include software applications for editing graphics and images, videos, drawing architectural and engineering designs, and computing statistical and data analyses," he said. "However, because the cost of ownership of a whole suite of these tools is very high, many students cannot afford to have personal copies of these software applications, resulting in a situation in which some students have historically been disadvantaged in their learning process. We aim to give equal access to all students."
"Our IT Services department initiated the iLab virtualisation project in August 2012 to ensure that all students enrolled in our programmes have equal opportunity to access the tools they need in their learning needs," said Tan.
"iLab was the first education-based software and application virtualisation project of its kind among Malaysian institutions," he said. "Under this project, we acquired all the requisite education software tools and databases and placed them in a central server, which was enabled with application virtualisation solutions. Students can now access this virtualised server with their student login ID via wired-LAN [local area network] on networked desktops in computer labs on campus or via our campus-wide wireless network."
"After evaluating proof-of-concept (POC) solutions over six months, we decided on a wireless model that enables us to synergise with then emerging Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend," said Tan.
"We noticed more and more students were bringing their own mobile computing devices like tablets, laptops, smartphones to school," he said. "Our successful POC works well with Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology which is capable of handling high speed and high density environments."
"The Group made the first move in 2009 to use Ruckus at Sunway International School, which operates on a wireless computing environment for all its learning needs," said Tan, adding that the performance improvements over the previous legacy system then led to a decision to standardise on Ruckus at Sunway University as well.
He said Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi now blankets the 9-hectare Sunway campus covering classrooms, indoor and outdoor student activity areas, auditorium, libraries and labs, facilitating the successful rollout of the iLab project.
"Sunway's iLab is an excellent example of how tertiary institutions can leverage technology to enhance the learning experience of students, many of whom bring their own mobile devices to school," said Ruckus vice president, Louis Au. "Ruckus Wireless successfully worked with Sunway Education to provide a highly reliable, high speed and robust wireless infrastructure to roll out its BYOD solution that has improved the quality of instruction and higher standards of education."
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