Orange Anglican Grammar School Case Study
Orange Anglican Grammar School lays foundation for future network technology expansion
Overcome an unreliable network infrastructure and lay the foundation for the school's expansion
After two years of trying solutions offered by technology suppliers which proved to be ineffective, the school approached HP for help in overcoming its network infrastructure problems
- Eliminated the network failures which disrupted the school's teaching and learning process
- Removed the need for admin staff to trouble shoot the network, allowing them to concentrate on necessary tasks such as curriculum delivery
- Banished the previous issue of server crashes by delivering 100 per cent hardware uptime
- Matched the technology performance students expected, and received, outside the school environment, restoring confidence in the learning process
- Delivered the robust network technology platform underpinning the planned doubling of the student population
Orange Anglican Grammar School's origins date back to an older school founded in 1924. Its new life began in 2007 with the purchase of a spectacular 10 hectare site on the outskirts of the regional New South Wales town of Orange. Its mission: to build a state of the art campus catering for the educational needs of present and future co-educational students.
By 2012 it was catering for 200 students aged from entry level kindergarten 4 year olds to 14 and 15 year olds. By 2015 the school intake will progress to Year 12 (up to 18 year olds) and the student population will expand to 700. To accommodate the expansion several new buildings are planned.
However, the school's growth plans were being constrained by poorly performing network technology. For some time the school had been using D-Link switches, wireless and firewall. Regular server
crashes, inadequate wireless access point coverage, low bandwidth availability, lack of sufficient RAM and incorrectly configured servers were the hallmarks of an unstable network.
Teaching and learning process interrupted
Teachers and students alike shared the frustration caused by the frequent interruptions. They viewed the delivery of wireless technology to the classrooms as a matter of chance: it was not uncommon for as few as five students in a class of 20 to achieve wireless access for their laptops. When all 20 laptops were connected the performance slowed unacceptably.
For one teacher in particular the impact was doubled. Robert Watts taught visual arts but also acted as the school ICT manager.
Watts recalls: "Too often the wireless access points kept failing. It meant individually reconfiguring each one, plugging it in and then punching in the codes. It was always being done on the fly and it was never easy to add to or change the configuration."
"The uncertainty of delivering effective teaching practice on any one day was a lottery that affected all the classes. Classes while interrupted due to network issues were never suspended. The school had to wait until I finished teaching to address the problem, an unfair impact, particularly on the work of the administration staff."
The frustrations kept mounting as the school sought advice from several technology vendors. The cost of implementing the offered solutions was a drain on the school's resources and successive attempts were achieving only marginal improvements.
Infrastructure blueprint mapped out
The school approached HP for help. HP brought in one of its Premier Business Partners, the Somerville Group. A team of Somerville engineers mapped out the infrastructure within a day and proposed a plan for the provision of network, firewalls and server upgrades to solve the wireless connectivity, stability and scalable performance in the core and edge switches.
Somerville proposed an HP managed wired and wireless networking solution. This would upgrade the existing infrastructure and would also allow for additional growth as new buildings are added.
At the core of the solution lies the HP5406 chassis. Watts says: "These advanced intelligent switches have a lifetime warranty and give us the flexibility and scalability the school's expansion plan demand. The other major advantage that helped our cause is their ease of deployment, operation and maintenance."
The HP MSM765 Wireless controller gives Orange Anglican Grammar School the centralised wireless LAN configuration control it was lacking. HP A3800 edge switches with 10 GB uplinks and multiple 460
Wireless Access Points are deployed. "There are no access problems now, and werre able to deploy up to 40 laptop or tablet devices per classroom. The students have renewed faith. They're seeing the same level
of reliability they've come to expect when accessing technology outside of school," says Watts.
HP ProCurve Mobility Manager (PMM) ensures all wireless devices within range of the network are visible. It provides the school with a constant overview of the network health.
The managed services solution
The school opted for a managed services contract whereby the Somerville Group takes a centralised responsibility for the infrastructure. Somerville conducts performance and patch management to maintain the stability of the network. At regular 15 minute intervals an enterprise reporting tool provides an audit trail, if needed, with snapshots of the configuration of the switches, core and firewall.
"The school is only disturbed by an alert now if an ISP goes down," says Watts. "In the past there was no real ownership of the problem. The managed solution means no unexpected call outs or hardware dying that is not covered by a warranty."
"The infrastructure is resilient, the telephone lines are stable and no hardware has had to be replaced since the new system was installed. Teachers, admin staff and students all benefit from our increased productivity. My visual arts students now expect an uninterrupted lesson. No more cutting class for me."
Watts says the scalability of the network infrastructure has given the school the confidence to press on with the planned campus expansion.
"The confidence being experienced by the entire school staff and students stems from the Somerville Group's demonstrated professional understanding of our environment and the managed services the Group supplies. The unquestioned quality of the HP technology and reliability of HP 24 plus support reinforces our long term strategies to upgrade and virtualise on HP server and storage area network (SAN) platforms."
For more information
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