IBM-Logicalis has won a $6 million deal to supply Cisco wireless access points to 1600 Victorian primary and secondary schools.
The integrator claimed the rollout, which runs from February until June, is the largest wireless deployment of its kind.
Providing a more flexible, mobile and creative approach to learning was the reason behind the project, Minister for Education Services, Jacinta Allan, said.
IBM was chosen from a number of other tenderers as being the best technical fit to the department's in-house developed Edu Pass proxy and security system, Victorian Department of Education general manager for IT, Katrina Reynen, said.
"We wanted to rollout a system that was highly secure for Victorian schools and to be able to manage wireless access," she said. "Security in the school's [existing] wireless networks were unsecured was of a variable standard and secure access was difficult to manage."
The wireless notebook combination enabled teachers time to quickly get lessons underway as the machine remained powered up between rooms and classes, Reynen said.
"It's a cultural change. The notebook technology enables staff to walk from one classroom to the next and just teach," she said.
Training of the in-house implementation team in configuration of the 802.11g network is included as part of the deal.
The latest wireless rollout contract is part of the Department's Notebooks for Teachers and Principals Program, which has provided Victorian teachers with 38,000 IBM ThinkPad notebooks and as well as training in technology.
The growing wireless trend in the education sector is giving new opportunities to the channel and vendors alike. Cisco will supply 9000 wireless access points for this deal. Intel is also believed to be running a Centrino pilot with selected Tasmanian schools as part of a recent Acer notebook rollout.
Allowing users to collaborate from remote locations without any physical restrictions was a fundamental benefit of wireless networks, IBM-Logicalis business unit executive, Simon Walsh, said.