LA Unified Schools

School District Gets A+ in Primary Routing, Failover, In-Vehicle Networks & Cloud Management with Cradlepoint Solutions

SUMMARY

Second largest in the nation, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) enrolls more than 734,641 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at over 1302 schools and centers.

With a district so large, connecting students and staff is no small feat. To ensure continuity of network service, LAUSD tested several different products as part of competitive bid processes, resulting in contracts for and deployment of Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for branch and mobile throughout the district in various applications — from primary connectivity to school bus WiFi to network failover — benefiting in network bandwidth and constant connectivity for the 794,832 students and staff. The service includes seamless and instant failover, Out-of-Band Management, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting.

BUSINESS NEEDS

A few years ago Shahryar Khazei, the CIO of LAUSD, needed to connect administration and school sites that had no wired or wireless access set up. This became extremely important to meet the needs of district operations and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Testing in California.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Test utilizes computeradaptive tests and performance tasks that allow students to prove their knowledge. Based on the Common Core, it has three components designed to support teaching and learning throughout the year: the Summative Assessments, the Interim Assessments, and the Digital Library, all of which require constant network connectivity.

SOLUTION

For an alternative means of providing bandwidth, LAUSD conducted a competitive bid process in which the public was invited to submit packages describing how their solutions would meet the District’s requirements and at what costs. After review of these packages by an independent panel of The District chose Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for branch and mobile for seamless and instant failover, Out-of-Band Management, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via a purpose-built LTE adapter with 24x7 support and a limited lifetime warranty.

“We began using Cradlepoint solutions to connect our sites that had no wired or wireless access — then soon realized that we could use these devices when we had an outage for temporary connectivity. The solutions are installed as fixed routing devices in critical administration locations, plus we have installed the Cradlepoint devices for Out-of-Band Management and NetCloud Manager as an extra layer of network agility for analytics,” said Shahryar Khazei, CIO, LAUSD.

LAUSD is also piloting connectivity on school buses leveraging Cradlepoint’s in-vehicle solutions to benefit students.

BENEFITS

CONTINUITY OF NETWORK SERVICE

As LAUSD grows, the need for a constant, reliable network also grows. With Cradlepoint solutions, the school can quickly add network devices for bandwidth and agility, along with solutions for network failover and Out-of-Band Management in case of a fiber line outage.

“As our schools purchase more and more devices and our students use these devices in the classroom, we are becoming dependent on these devices and the connections,” said Khazei. “If I have a network outage at a school, it is really going to be disruptive to the classroom environment. Having a Cradlepoint solution in place for failover is a real advantage.”

CLOUD MANAGEMENT & EASE OF MANAGEMENT

The District covers an area totaling 710 square miles. This includes most of The City of Los Angeles, along with all or portions of 26 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. About 4.8 million people live within the District’s boundaries. From an operational standpoint, the district requires solutions to enable operational efficiencies.

“The power of having a centralized management system is a huge benefit for managing a large fleet of devices,” stated Robert Arnold, Senior Network Engineer.

LEADING-EDGE SOLUTIONS

LAUSD tested and evaluated several solutions before deciding to implement Cradlepoint.

“Cradlepoint has delivered ‘clean’ solutions overall. It has become clear they can handle the capacity and traffic needed for our network,” said Khazei.