Ashland, Oregon Schools Blaze a Trail for Digital Learning with AI-Driven Networking

Nestled at the base of two mountain ranges, Ashland is known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the arts, and endless opportunities for outdoor fun. A lucky few call Ashland their home, and the Ashland School District was one of the first to deploy Mist wireless and Juniper wired networking to advance digital learning and student success.


Company Ashland School District
Industry Education
Products used Wireless (Wi-Fi) AssuranceWired AssuranceQFX5100EX2300 MultigigabitEX4300 Multigigabit
Region Americas
Ashland School District Image
Customer Success At-a-glance


students, faculty, and staff now experience an exceptional network


school site networks to support future digital learning


support staff to troubleshoot complex network problems


network operations through AI and automation



A few years ago, the Ashland School District outlined a strategic plan for student success, and it backed those intentions with a bond measure to renovate schools, redesigning classrooms and strengthening educational technology. With digital learning an integral part of every day, the school site networks were refreshed.

Steve Mitzel, director of IT at Ashland School District, runs an innovative team. “As we did our research for the network upgrade, we were introduced to Mist at an executive briefing center event. We left with a feeling of intrigue, and we began our research.” The objective was to refresh the networks serving the high school, two middle schools, and three elementary schools. Technology is integral to learning, whether it’s kindergartners who are just exploring the world or high schoolers exploring future careers in engineering and manufacturing technology. Delivering a great network experience for students, teachers, and administrators was a top priority. Equally important was streamlining network operations.“

Ashland School District Challenge


Ashland School District refreshed its campus network with Mist wireless and Juniper wired networking. “Mist appealed to me because I could take the wireless controllers out of the equation and make management of the laptops and iPads easier and more intuitive. AI and cloud are the direction the industry is headed in, and Mist was the first.”

“For a school district of our size, we have very sophisticated wireless and we can manage it effectively,” Mitzel says. “Mist’s AI intrigued me, but Wired Assurance, Wi-Fi Assurance, Marvis, and analytics put us in a position where the network is very easy and transparent to manage.” “One of the advantages of the Mist dashboard is that we can see at a glance how the user environment is doing from a service-level expectation perspective,” says Shahid Ali, network engineer at Ashland School District. And, with Mist Cloud, the IT team doesn’t have to worry about the risk, time, and complexity of upgrading wireless controllers anymore.

At Ashland, Wired Assurance provides visibility into Juniper EX4300 Ethernet Switch, which serves as the core of the campus network, as well as the Juniper Networks EX2300 Ethernet Switch, which provides access switching in classrooms, labs, and offices. The district also uses the Juniper QFX5100 line of Switches for high-performance, reliable data center networking.

Ashland School District Solution


Ashland School District was among the first K-12 schools in the U.S. to deploy Mist. “We committed early to Mist, and we’ve never looked back,” Mitzel says. “We have raw respect for the trailblazing work that Mist did, and we wanted to be aligned with that innovation.” That innovation gives a district of 3000 students an advanced network that districts ten times that size might have—but without any added complexity.

“Mist scales easily across the K-12 landscape, from big urban school districts to small, rural districts,” Mitzel says. “The Mist solution works in so many scenarios.” That provides a foundation for the future of learning, whether in the classroom, in the theater, or on the field. And it can count on its partnership with Juniper and Mist. “The Juniper and Mist team have been great,” Mitzel says. “Their level of engagement is unheard of these days.”

Ashland School District Outcome
Steve Mitzel, Director of IT, Ashland School District
"We committed early to Mist, and we’ve never looked back. We have raw respect for the trailblazing work that Mist did, and we wanted to be aligned with that innovation."
Steve Mitzel Director of IT, Ashland School District

Published June  2020