TAFE NSW is set to overhaul the wireless network infrastructure underpinning its almost 170 sites across the state to ensure that students and staff can reliably and securely connect their devices.

The public training provider revealed plans for the wi-fi modernisation in a request for information to support its connectivity needs, including “new and emerging Internet of Things devices”.

It plans to use the process to understand the current wi-fi technology landscape and inform a future business case.

TAFE NSW currently operates a “series of disparate wi-fi platforms” across 169 sites, including 162 campuses and 1802 buildings, for authenticated users like students and staff.

The state-wide network comprises “approximately 7000 dual radio (A/B/G/N) controller based wireless access points and 138 local wireless controllers”, RFI documents state.

But with most of these platforms dating back to 2009 and receiving limited enhancement in the intervening years, TAFE NSW said connectivity is currently hamstrung.

“The single biggest current challenge for TAFE is provision of suitable coverage to its end users whilst managing finite and legacy structured cabling and LAN resources scaled to current needs,” it said. 

“A key success factor for this initiative is to provide a secure, reliable and efficient standardised wi-fi network accessible from every learning, administration and outdoor space across TAFE’s 160+ sites in NSW.”

TAFE will use the RFI to “understand the available purchasing models from the OEM [original equipment manufacturers] for the Wi-Fi technology to ensure future market activities are appropriately scoped”.

“TAFE recognises that Wi-Fi technology offerings may be contracted as a bundle offering from the OEM, but may also be available through resellers and implementation partners,” it said.

RFI submissions will close on October 12, with a virtual industry briefing to be held on September 17.

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