pcti_iconPassaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) is a leading career and technical high school located in Wayne, New Jersey. Listed among the best high schools three years in a row according to US News & World Reports, PCTI is the largest school of its kind in the state and represents a progressive learning community both in terms of teaching and adopting technology.

Converged Access is a WLAN deployment mode that helps deliver common intelligent services across wired and wireless networks for security and policy, application visibility, network resiliency, smart operations and more. Catalyst 3850, Catalyst 3650, Catalyst 4500E switches, and Cisco 5760 WLAN Controllers (WLC) are capable of supporting Converged Access mode.

PCTI adopted Converged Access using Catalyst 3850 and 5760 WLC for their deployment to help support their 1:1 program where all students (approx. 3,300) and faculty members (approx. 350) will be provided with a mobile device. The success of the deployment is paramount as the incoming freshmen and sophomore classes will receive Dell Chromebooks in early 2015 as part of the school curriculum.

PCTI chose Converged Access for its deployment as they use the network to support various wired and wireless devices, including PCs, Access Points, IP Phones, HD Video Surveillance, and Door Access Control. With a minimum of 30 wireless devices per room, the ability to terminate CAPWAP (Control and Provisioning of Wireless Access Points) at the access layer eliminated concerns about the scalability of their data centers. Additionally, the hierarchical QOS as well as the ability to monitor and troubleshoot both wired and wireless traffic at the access layer, through services like Flexible Netflow and Wireshark, was quite appealing to PCTI. The first phase of the deployment involved 5760 WLC as a Mobility Controller (MC), 6 Catalyst 3850s as Mobility Agent (MA) and 25 Access Points (1 per each of 25 rooms).

Dr. Roberto D. Rubino, CTO at PCTI says “The thing that stood out the most during our deployment was being able to use the Cisco IOS to configure support for both wired and wireless traffic… This is huge compared to how it used to be.  A single set of class maps, policy maps, etc. on the same IOS-XE platform is night and day in simplicity and efficiency.”

PCTI is in the process of expanding their Converged Access deployment to include 46 Catalyst 3850s and 146 Access Points (130 AP3700 and 16 AP3600), with the long-term plan of providing converged access on all 52 acres of the PCTI campus, with a wired-plus-wireless solution both indoors and outdoors. The simplified implementation, scalability, and security of PCTI’s pilot deployment have given PCTI the confidence to grow its Converged Access solution and its network.

For more information visit the Product website for Catalyst 3850 and 5760 WLC or check out the video on Converged Access for more details on Converged Access Architecture and Design.


Raj Vashist

Senior Product Manager, Unified Access BU