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Cradlepoint Solutions for K-12 Education
Secure, Dependable Networks for K-12 and Libraries


Internet connectivity today is to education what books, pencils, and paper were 20 years ago. Evolving instructional practices, Common Core, online assessments, and cloud-based tools for learning and collaboration have schools and libraries seeking network solutions built to meet the changing needs of students, teachers, and the community. From better education for tomorrow’s leaders to an ever-increasing array of cost-saving efficiencies, school districts require always-on connectivity from their network solutions.

Wireless Networks for K-12 & Libraries

For schools and libraries, technology and Internet connectivity are no longer supplemental elements, but critical tools to help enhance and personalize learning. This white paper offers guidance on choosing a solution that balances the evolving needs of schools and libraries with the time and budget constraints of the IT department.

Networks for School Buses, Bookmobiles & Library Kiosks

Today’s libraries and schools need a network that reaches beyond the confines of the campus. Thanks to the development of 4G LTE, schools and libraries have an exciting opportunity to extend their reach beyond the physical walls of their institutions.

Network Downtime

Challenge:
Network downtime during mission-critical moments.

Solution:
Reliable 4G LTE failover Internet connectivity.

On The Go

Challenge:
On-the-go connectivity for school buses.

Solution:
Ruggedized solutions for mobile learning.

Cradlepoint NetCloud

Challenge:
Managing the distributed network on a tight budget.

Solution:
Enterprise Cloud Manager for remote deployment, troubleshooting, and more.

Zscaler

Challenge:
Protecting students and important data.

Solution:
Cradlepoint 4G LTE solutions with CIPA compliant, cloud-based security services.


E-Rate Eligible Solutions

The E-Rate program is designed to assist K-12 schools and libraries, including public and private schools, school districts, and all public libraries (not affiliated with a school). Eligible schools and libraries may qualify for discounts between 20% and 85% through the E-rate program. Cradlepoint now offers E-Rate eligible connectivity and networking solutions.

Small School/Classroom Solution:

Challenge: Providing large-scale network solutions for small schools

Smaller schools face unique challenges when presented with the complexities of establishing, running, and maintaining network solutions. They need to meet the same standards as larger schools but often do not have the same technology, resources, and support for doing so. These schools can struggle with issues of:

  • Compliance: All schools, regardless of size, are required to comply with local, state, and federal regulations regarding student safety and data security.
  • Reliability: Teaching, safety, service delivery, and internal and external communications all depend on constant, reliable access to school networks.
  • Long-term agility: Solutions and systems must be able to scale and adapt as student, staff, school, and district needs change.
  • Affordability: Small schools need network and security solutions that provide the highest level of service while keeping costs low.

Solution: Cradlepoint advanced edge routing & security solutions

Because of its broad set of networking applications, built-in reliability, and dependability in delivering secure solutions, Cradlepoint’s AER (Advandced Edge Routing) Series platforms are uniquely positioned to match the evolving needs of small schools.

Cradlepoint advanced edge routing & security solutions

Cradlepoint Advantages:

  • Data and network security: Cradlepoint’s devices and cloud-based management platform proactively identify and respond to threats faster and help reduce costs using next-generation firewall protection with enhanced virus protection and anti-malware. Cradlepoint’s content filtering solution helps the school maintain CIPA compliance.*
  • Rock-solid connectivity: Best-in-class connection options ensure the school’s connectivity will be reliable, uninterrupted, and secure. Converged wired and wireless failover ensure reliability so that networks will be available when staff, students, and administrators need them most.
  • Flexible adaptability: Cradlepoint’s systems are engineered to scale and adapt, whether that means implementing and updating policies from the cloud or changing existing deployments to meet evolving needs.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Cradlepoint’s solutions are purpose-built for smaller/edge networks with minimal on-site IT expertise. Cradlepoint’s cloudmanaged solutions are easy to deploy, manage, and maintain. Cradlepoint offers a combined cost-effective router, ethernet switch, and firewall solution that is ideal for small classroom and testing facility connectivity.

School district deploys converged wired & wireless platform

A school district turned to Cradlepoint for help accommodating the increasing number of mobile devices in classrooms. The schools also needed reliable Internet for online testing and access to cloud-based applications. The district hoped to reduce network management costs and provide better network segmentation for public and student WiFi, teacher and staff access, and particularly sensitive applications like student and employee personal data repositories.

Using Cradlepoint’s AER3100 and Enterprise Cloud Manager, the district deployed wired primary connectivity in schools along with wireless failover on a single platform. At schools where the student population has exceeded building capacity, portable classrooms utilize wireless primary connectivity. Sensitive data can be segmented through a different path, or reside on a completely separate, air-gapped network distinct from the open WiFi network. IT administrators rely on proactive alerts and centralized control to reduce on-site visits and minimize management expenses.

Complete networking solution for small schools, classrooms and auxiliary locations. (Router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi)
Complete networking solution for small schools, classrooms and auxiliary locations. (Router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi)

*CIPA—Not E-rate eligible

Library Solution:

Challenge: Flexible, dependable network solutions for libraries

Libraries are a community’s go-to resource for learning opportunities of all kinds. Increasingly, that means ensuring high-performance, reliable connectivity for emerging and diverse learning applications:

  • Library patrons use cloud-based applications and massive open online courses (MOOCs) to learn new skills, like software programming or a foreign language.
  • Citizens who are otherwise unable to obtain Internet access utilize the library’s connectivity to apply for jobs online, do homework, and read email.
  • Students use computers and mobile devices to access worldwide information databases (such as Interlibrary Loan or LexisNexis) for research.

With increasing demands and use but limited funding and support, libraries may struggle with:

  • Security: Library IT staff must provide required levels of data privacy and confidentiality to patrons, prevent unauthorized network access, and ensure CIPA compliance.
  • Network reliability: Because of their programming, research, literacy initiatives, family learning, and other key community functions, libraries need to reliably provide access to networks and multimedia resources.
  • Affordability: Libraries need network and security solutions that provide the highest level of service and reliability while keeping costs low.

Solution: Cradlepoint advanced edge routing & security solutions

Because of its broad set of networking applications, built-in reliability, and dependability in delivering secure solutions, Cradlepoint’s AER Series platforms (Advanced Edge Routing) are uniquely positioned to match the evolving needs of libraries.

Cradlepoint advanced edge routing & security solutions

Cradlepoint Advantages:

  • Data and network security: Cradlepoint’s devices and cloud-based management platform proactively identify and respond to threats faster and help reduce costs using enterprisegrade firewall protection with enhanced virus protection and anti-malware. Cradlepoint’s content filtering application, powered by Zscaler, helps the library maintain CIPA compliance.*
  • Rock-solid connectivity: Best-in-class connection options ensure the library’s connectivity will be reliable, uninterrupted, and secure. Converged wired and wireless failover ensure reliability so that networks will be available when community members and library staff need them most.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Cradlepoint’s efficient, secure systems that adapt to a library’s evolving needs ensure that the highest standards are upheld without unnecessary costs.

State library system deploys converged wired and wireless platform

A state library system needed to accommodate the bandwidth needs of the growing number of patron- and library-owned mobile devices accessing the network. The library also hoped to simplify network management for IT teams charged with managing public WiFi (which they received at a discounted price from their ISP) along with the internal network across distributed locations.

By purchasing a statewide 4G LTE data plan, the library was able to provide cellular-based connectivity for their libraries’ internal functions at a lower cost than they paid for wired access. The library system chose Cradlepoint’s AER3100 routers with Enterprise Cloud Manager for centralized remote management, data pooling among locations, and enterprise-grade security. With Cradlepoint’s WAN Diversity™, the libraries could manage their wired ISP for public WiFi and the 4G LTE internal network on one platform. Should the wired access for public WiFi fail, the network fails over to 4G LTE connectivity.

Complete networking solution for small libraries. Router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi
Complete networking solution for small libraries. Router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi

*CIPA—Not E-rate eligible

Bookmobile Solution:

Challenge: Taking a technology-rich library experience on the road

To bring library services to underserved populations and better serve the community, many library districts use mobile libraries (sometimes known as “bookmobiles”) to reach constituents who would otherwise be unlikely to visit a brick-and-mortar branch. High-performance Internet connectivity is integral to creating a technology-rich mobile library.

  • Librarians access cloud-based inventory services for updates and searches.
  • Patrons utilize Internet-connected computers and mobile devices for online research and access to digital media.
  • Citizens who are otherwise unable to obtain Internet access utilize the mobile library’s connectivity to apply for jobs, do homework, and read email.

However, deploying a network connectivity solution on the road presents a number of challenges:

  • Rugged environments: Impacts of urban and rural roads and temperature extremes can quickly damage a routing device not built to withstand such conditions.
  • Carrier coverage: Choosing the best carrier for constant mobile Internet coverage can be a guessing game.
  • Network security: Ensuring secure, reliable connectivity, including dependable WiFi and firewall protection, can cause network visibility and management challenges when mobile libraries hit the road.

Solution: Cradlepoint cloud-managed 4G LTE networking

Cradlepoint solutions leverage 4G LTE to let libraries take their technology anywhere and everywhere

Cradlepoint cloud-managed 4G LTE networking

Cradlepoint Advantages:

  • Ruggedized connectivity: Compact, ruggedized devices are designed for in-vehicle connectivity in the most challenging environments, and they support all four major wireless carriers.
  • Cloud-managed deployments: Cradlepoint’s cloud-based management software makes it simple to configure, deploy, and manage the network from a centralized, remote location to reduce costs and improve productivity without sacrificing performance.
  • Next generation firewall and security: Cradlepoint’s suite of security solutions lets IT administrators easily and transparently enforce security policies from any remote device while patrons and employees surf the web and access cloud applications with confidence.

City library deploys bookmobile with mobile internet

A library hoping to enhance services for seniors, disabled citizens, children, and patrons without a nearby branch invested in a mobile library. The bus brought books and programming to daycares, retirement communities, and neighborhood parks each week. However, without mobile Internet, librarians were unable to reserve books for patrons in real time, search the cloud-based resource database, sell books with electronic Point-ofSale systems, or provide other important services like research help and Internet access.

The library deployed Cradlepoint’s IBR1100 wireless in-vehicle router to take Internet access on the road. Combined with Enterprise Cloud Manager and enterprise-grade firewall, the library’s IT administrators secure, update, and troubleshoot the network remotely to minimize management costs and maximize the mobile library’s time in the community. Patrons enjoy better service and access to a wider variety of materials and resources.

Mobile network for bookmobiles. (Internet connectivity, router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi)
Mobile network for bookmobiles. (Internet connectivity, router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi)

Library Kiosk Solution:

Challenge: Providing library Kiosk services to the community

With the advent of machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies, libraries are gaining greater ability to be nimble with respect to whom they serve, what services they can provide, and even where they can exist. Remote kiosks present libraries with a unique opportunity to meet patrons where they are and offer automated services to community members in the places they visit the most. Services can include checking out pre-stocked books, delivery of individually requested books, and book returns. While kiosks offer multiple benefits to libraries, patrons, and communities, they also present several key challenges:

  • Flexibility: Wired connectivity for kiosks may not be available or easily provisioned in some places, and because kiosks may need to be moved from time to time as community needs change, wired options can’t offer the flexibility to make a kiosk deployment work.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Kiosks must be able to operate remotely with reduced staff and financial support. Additionally, running a wired line to a remotely located kiosk may be cost prohibitive.
  • Security & reliability: Kiosks must be able to operate with a high level of security to protect patron and library data transmitted to and from the kiosk. It is also critical that the kiosk be available and online 24/7 to let patrons access services whenever they are needed.

Solution: Cradlepoint M2M Library Kiosk Solutions

Cradlepoint’s broad set of networking applications allows libraries to create and maintain community kiosks that provide reliable services to patrons without overburdening library staff and resources.

Cradlepoint M2M Library Kiosk Solutions

Cradlepoint Advantages:

  • Network flexibility: Cradlepoint’s M2M solutions leverage 4G LTE to ensure that kiosk users can access information and services whenever they need to. With enterprise-grade modems and external antenna accessories, robust Internet connectivity can be achieved anywhere with cellular coverage, with no need for wired lines.
  • Cost-effective cloud management: Purposebuilt for the geographically dispersed network, Cradlepoint’s cloud-managed platforms reduce the costs and complexity of managing remote networks.
  • Always connected, always protected: Intelligent security and reliable Internet connectivity enable secure data transmission anytime. Track kiosk location and maximize security with geo-fencing capability.

City library deploys mobile Kiosks

A city library district wanted to make it easier for citizens to access and return books, DVDs, and CDs regardless of where they lived. The library district decided to deploy resource kiosks throughout the city’s most underserved areas. The kiosks needed secure mobile Internet access to let patrons search for and request resources, check resources in and out, pay library fees, and make purchases. However, the library’s IT team soon discovered that their existing network solutions and wired ISP couldn’t provide flexible connectivity and remote management capability for a cost-effective deployment.

The library district chose Cradlepoint’s COR IBR650 router to provide flexible, always-on connectivity for the kiosks and Enterprise Cloud Manager for remote visibility, control, and troubleshooting. The Cradlepoint device’s geolocation capability helps IT administrators ensure that kiosks aren’t removed from their sites, and cloud-managed VPN helps enable PCI 3.0 compliance for credit card payments.

Mobile network for bookmobiles. (Internet connectivity, router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi)
Mobile network for bookmobiles. (Internet connectivity, router, switch, firewall + security, WiFi)