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Australian School Upgrades Campus Infrastructure for Mobile Learning
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Focus: Health
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 10, 2013

Melbourne’s Ruyton Girls’ School, with 750 Kindergarten to Year 12 students, has deployed a new IT network to better support its new mobile and online learning initiatives.

In the past, educational content was stored on local drives of the school’s devices. Today, teachers and students access online course materials from Australia’s Academic and Research Network, adding strain on the school’s 1 Gigabit Ethernet link network.

Students are creating, consuming and sharing more media-rich voice and video content. The school also plans to allow students to bring their own devices, to support its move to eBooks.

IT Manager Chris Karopoulos knew that they had to upgrade the school’s network to support the changing learning needs and new mobile and online learning initiatives. His team also wanted greater transparency into networked devices to avoid supporting unknown devices.

The school needed a network with high bandwidth, reliability and resilience to support an average of 1,000 devices per day.

A key area of focus was the network core, which depended on a single switch that was identified as a bottleneck and a potential single point of failure.

To address this issue and increase bandwidth across the network, the school deployed Brocade ICX 6610 Switches at the network core. The switches are linked together using four full-duplex 40 Gbps stacking ports that provide 320 Gbps of backplane bandwidth with full redundancy.

This approach eliminates inter-switch bottlenecks while delivering wire-speed, non-blocking performance across all 1 GbE and 10 GbE switch ports.

New switches installed around the School ensured consistent user experience across the campus, including the gymnasium and swimming pool building.

In addition, the new switching infrastructure supports device-agnostic user authentication across the network and virtual private LANs that provide secure access to sensitive information assets.

The new software centralises and streamlines network management, that saves the school approximately half a day per week in network administration, said Karopoulos.

“With more young people owning portable communications devices, BYOD is the future for students,” said Greig Guy, Country Manager Australia and New Zealand, Brocade.

“With Brocade ICX Switches, Ruyton now boasts a non-stop networking infrastructure with enhanced redundancy and a resilient design, along with a high-speed backbone to support wireless users. The greater simplicity of the network has also improved the user experience with a cleaner, more presentable solution in the classroom.”

With the new network in place and the school’s wireless infrastructure up and running, Ruyton has also completed a digital device review.

This will see the introduction of a 1-to-1 iPad programme from Years Kinder to 6; the use of MacBook Air devices for Years 7 to 9 and iPads in Year 7, with the transition of these two devices (iPad and MacBook Air) to other levels in following years.

As part of this digital device initiative Ruyton will be launching its BYOD programme for Years 10–12. This will make network reliability even more crucial as the school transitions from paper textbooks to eBooks.

“The flexible deployment model to ensure 100 per cent uptime for students and staff during network upgrades, the simplified management of the solution deployed, the future-proof network design and the advanced technical capabilities were a winning offering,” said Karopoulos.

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