E-Rate FY 2020
1. Our buildings are mostly steel frame and cinderblock walls. Because of this, our current solution has an AP in every classroom. We don’t currently offer public wifi or have BYOD, so we don’t necessarily need AP’s for large capacity crowds. A normal classroom would have around 30 wireless devices.
2. A vendor has requested a walkthrough on March 5th at 10:30am. Walkthrough cancelled.
Question 1: It looks like you want to just replace APs with the new 120 APs. If you do that you won’t be needing new licenses. I just wanted to confirm with you that that’s what you’re wanting.
Answer 1: We have decided the best thing to do is replace the entire existing system. We are trying to get away from the existing, inadequate controller. We are not locked into an onsite controller and are looking at cloud based solutions such as Meraki, Juniper/Mist, and etc. Because of monetary concerns, we are being forced to do the project in phases and final counts will depend on pricing.
Question 2: Are all the Yoakum ISD campuses tied together and share a network or are they all separate networks?
Answer 2: All locations are inter connected. Each campus has its own subnet and each campus wireless network is on its own subnet.
Question 3: Are there any minimum required technical specifications for the wireless access points being requested?
Answer 3: The 470/RFP didn't specify any minimum required technical specifications. However, if we can afford it, we would like to go with the latest technology so that we are not behind. That being said, vendors may choose to submit one solution for the latest technology and another for a more economical option.
Question 4: Do we have any areas like this?:
- Buildings with ceiling heights of greater than ~15-feet. (Gyms, Cafeterias, Auditoriums, Tall Hallways, etc.).
- AP locations that might be mounted on walls.
- Buildings that do not have drop ceiling, which may require 3rd party mounting brackets.
- Exterior APs, if any.
Answer 4: Due to funding, this project will likely only include replacement of a portion of our wireless system in this eRate year. This portion of the project will not include any high ceilings, wall mounts, or external APs. Those locations will be replaced in the next portion of the project.
Question 5: The RFP mentions that you have an existing controller based solution. I’m assuming that it is a Cisco controller with Cisco APs, but this is not completely applicable. I am simply referring to this solution, as I am referencing terms that are applicable to Cisco. In a controller based environment, the WLC will facilitate “fast secure roaming” between APs, so that a mobile device remains connected as it traverses the various wireless AP cells. Unfortunately, there is no way of establishing a mobility group between a controller based environment and a cloud hosted environment (that I am aware of). If the new APs will be installed in a phased approach (½ this year and ½ next year), would it be possible to consolidate the new APs within certain physical locations of a building to minimize potential connectivity drops (reassociation)?
- Example – Assume a standard classroom wing of any given campus. If you were to have a legacy AP in every other classroom, and then install a new cloud hosted AP in every classroom in between the legacy APs, you would likely encounter all sorts of device association issues. Even if the SSIDs were replicated, these two sets of equipment would be seen as two separate networks, and the end user’s device would have a hard time deciding which AP to stay connected to – especially when roaming. However, if you started at one end of the campus/building, and replaced all of the APs in the area, then you would have a much more clearly defined separation between the “new” and “legacy” wireless systems on the campus. You would lose a connection when roaming from the “new” environment to the “legacy” environment, but the reassociations would be much less frequent, and much easier to deal with. Stationary users would not really have an issue, as they would remain connected to whichever environment they were currently in.
In structuring the RFP pricing response, would you happen to have a count of APs that we would need to allocate to each campus? This year, the SLD will still require that applicants break project costs into a per-site funding request (funding based upon student counts for each site). We could structure the pricing according to your allocation as part of the RFP response, if you would like. If USAC’s guidance holds true, this will be much easier next year, as they are supposed to allow applicants to combine their site based budgets into a district-wide application. Unfortunately, this year still needs to be broken down by campus.
Answer 5: We plan to deal with the tough installs, external APs, and etc. in the next phase. We plan to replace the oldest APs first. For the most part, they should be concentrated in certain areas of each campus. For example at the Junior High in the 7th and 8th grade wings or at the Primary campus in the 2nd grade building. We haven’t been able to come up with a count because we don’t have a price for AP’s, licenses, and installation costs. Until we get that pricing, we can't come up with an estimate based on the Cat 2 money we have available. Because of the SLD requirements you referred to, we will be doing some work on each campus as the Cat 2 funds are avialable.
Question 6: Do you want bids emailed or sail mailed?
Answer 6: Think we better stick to regular mail as that is what’s listed in the RFP.