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LACA Hosted Wireless Service

LACA Hosted Wireless Service

What is LACA Hosted Wireless?

LACA offers our customers an eRate-eligible hosted wireless (WiFi) service built upon Ruckus Wireless equipment.  LACA owns and maintains the controller and access points, and handles site surveys, installation, setup, and on-going support of your wireless service. 
We are very flexible with this service, and can offer it districtwide, or only a single building or location.  It can be rolled out in stages as well (High School this year, Middle next year, etc).  Please read on for very detailed information about this service offering.

Help, I am Unfamiliar with Wireless Terminology!

To help you understand LACA's Hosted Wireless Service a little better, please look through the glossary of terms below before your read more about the service.
  • WIFI - The general term given to wireless services.

  • Access Point (AP), or Wireless Access Point (WAP) - Both terms refer to a small device that hangs from the ceiling in classrooms that sends and receives the wireless signal from cell phones, Chromebooks, laptops, and other wireless devices.  The more Access Points your have in a building, the better the signal coverage will be, and the more clients that can be joined at the same time. A typical building may have anywhere from 15-30 APs.

  • SSID (Service Set IDentifier) - This is the name of the target WIFI system you are connecting to. When you open your wireless device, and search for a network, and see choices like  "Guest WIFI", or "Staff Wireless", those are SSIDs.

  • Controller or Zonedirector - The "brain" of the wireless system. This is where SSIDs are created, access points are managed, passwords and other methods of connecting are defined, and rules for the wireless system are created.  "Controller" is a general industry term for this device, "Zonedirector" is a Ruckus Wireless vendor-specific name for their brand's controller.

  • Site Survey - A walkthrough of your building by a wireless technician, who uses test equipment to determine the best locations to place the Access Points to maximize coverage and insure enough there are enough access points to handle the anticipated number of simultaneous device connections. Locations like cafeterias and gymnasiums would need more Access Points, for example.  The site survey also uncovers problem areas, where thick walls may prevent the wireless signal from reaching.

  • Ruckus Wireless - Ruckus is the manufacturer of the controllers and access points LACA uses to offer this service to our customers.

Why Would I Use LACA's Hosted Wireless Service?

Using LACA's Hosted Wireless Service allows your district to offer WIFI service to your staff, students and guests,  and pay for it like you pay for any other utility, like electricity or water. The burden of support is removed from your local technology staff allowing them to focus on other more pressing matters.
There is no equipment to buy, no equipment to maintain, and the service is an eRate eligible service, so you can use eRate funding to help pay for wireless.

Pricing Information

Unfortunately, pricing for LACA's Hosted Wireless Service is determined on a case-by-case basis. The number of buildings and number of access points fluxuates greatly between different customers. LACA coordinates a "site survey" to determine placement and quantity of access points, and can ONLY provide a final formal quote after this information has been gathered.
However, for the purposes of budgeting, we CAN show you very generalized pricing estimates based on past experience.  These prices are not LACA's official quoted pricing, and your district may potentially be lower than or exceed the cost range stated below.
On average, the cost is between $22-$27 per access point per month. NOTE: This pricing is BEFORE any eRate discounts are applied.   Districts enter into a 3-to-5 year contract with LACA for the service. After the contract period ends, equipment can be refreshed and replaced by more modern equipment by entering into a new contract with LACA, or you may continue on with the current equipment at a greatly reduced cost per year after the initial contract ends.
The monthly per-access point price includes:
  • All WIFI equipment (access points and controller)
  • Installation and configuration of access points and controller.
  • Ongoing support and maintenance of all access points and controller for the duration of the contract.  LACA handles replacement of any failed access point or controller hardware.
The monthly per-access point prices does NOT include the following:
  • Cost of the initial site-survey.
  • Any wiring needed from distribution closets to locations of the access points.
  • Power over Ethernet switches needed to connect and power the access points.

If I Choose to Implement, What Should I Expect?

If you choose to implement, these are the steps you can expect to happen
  1.  LACA will schedule a site survey with your Technology Coordinator.  All buildings where WIFI will be installed will be surveyed.  At the end of the survey, LACA will have a total count of access points needed per building and their locations.

  2. LACA will prepare a formal quote for your district or school. This quote will show your monthly cost.

  3. Before the installation can begin, there must be ethernet wiring in place from your wiring closets to the locations where the access points will be mounted.  LACA can assist your district with lining up vendors to do this work, at the district's expense.

  4. Before installation can begin, there must be sufficient PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches in your wiring closets to connect and power the access points. This is the responsibility of the district. LACA can offer recommendations and quotes for switches from our partner vendors.

  5. After wiring and POE switches are in place, LACA can schedule an installation date that works for your district or school.  Depending on the size of the project, this may take from 1 to 3 days to complete.

  6. LACA staff will work with your district Technology Coordinator to determine the SSIDs needed, and to partition your network into VLANs for the separation of wireless traffic.

LACA's Partners

These are the vendors that LACA partners with to bring the Hosted Wireless service to your schools.