With the E-Rate Service Substitution policy, K-12 Schools can use existing funding for wired networking to fund 802.11 Wireless Network Deployments.
We've been contacted by many K-12 institutions that have experienced exponential growth in 802.11 wireless networking usage since they filed their original technology plan and subsequent 470/471. The question is whether they can transition some of the funds USAC has committed for fixed Ethernet infrastructure (Internal Connections) to fund 802.11n wireless infrastructure. USAC has added specific language to the Service Substitution guidelines that addresses this exact request. Specifically, here is what's mentioned:
"Service substitutions may also be obtained in certain cases even when the Function categories are not identical. For example, an Access Point is a wireless networking component that is categorized in the Eligible Services List under the Data Distribution function. Networking cable is categorized under the Cabling function. Yet, since both network cabling and wireless access points can accomplish the same function of connecting network components, a service substitution to convert from one technology to the other can be approved."
The process is simply to follow the service substitution guidelines, but specify that the request is to convert between Function categories that are intended to serve the same primary function – connecting network components. This will allow funds that are currently allocated for wiring and Ethernet infrastructure (under internal connections) to be converted to funding for Wireless LAN infrastructure.
Secure Edge Networks, LLC, a specialty IT Solutions Provider focused on areas of Mobility, Security and Network Convergence for Schools and Hospitals in the South East. To learn more, visit www.securedgenetworks.com