Sydney-based systems integrator, Accucom Solutions, has deployed a campus-wide wireless LAN solution for Barker College in partnership with Aruba networks.
The K-12 school on Sydney’s North Shore previously had a Wi-Fi network solution from Aerohive Networks which was underperforming.
Barker College director of ICT and eLearning James Stewart told ARN that when he joined the school in June, upgrading the network was flagged as a top priority by the school’s management.
“Barker is a very large school and we have some very diverse educational programs which are heavily reliant on technology,” he explained.
“We had many issues with the [existing] wireless. Some were technical, some were around design, and some were around how we had implemented the previous solution.
“Those issues were impacting reliability, scalability and the experience that students and staff were having in the classroom.”
The school provides devices for students from kindergarten to year eight as well as staff.
For students in years nine to twelve, the school runs a BYOD policy which means staff and more than 2000 students have multiple devices connected to the wireless network.
The existing network suffered continual connection issues and the campus had multiple black spots, causing considerable discontent amongst staff, students and parents.
“We were also very keen with this [project] to set a new milestone in service and performance,” Stewart added.
Barker embarked on a rigorous request for proposal (RFP) process conducted by SpectroTech which involved proof of concept, pilot and implementation to determine which organisation could deliver the desired outcome.
Enter Accucom, a Sydney-based integrator which had an existing relationship with Barker College through previous deployments of Palo Alto and Aruba technologies.
Accucom technical director Sam Sarkis said the company worked closely with its partner Aruba at every stage of the tender and implementation process.
Upon winning the tender, the company set up a pilot program which involved a two week test of network capabilities in the school library where students and staff were encouraged to test the test network for connection time and traffic speed.
“The POC took us a few days to get up and running because it was almost like a full deployment,” Sarkis added.
Following the success of the pilot implementation, Accucom continued to work with Aruba and Barker College to deploy the full solution in a short time frame of two weeks during the September school holidays.
Sarkis said the company had to deploy 317 access points across the campus including 12 outdoor AC-rated access points.
“We made sure that we pre-provisioned all the devices ahead of time as we had a window of two weeks to rip out all of the Aerohive infrastructure and replace it with Aruba," he added.
"We mitigated as many risks as we could, set up a staging area with all the access points and three engineers to provision everything."
As a result, Accucom completed the deployment on time and on budget," he added.
"On the first day students and staff were back at school, the network carried more than 1360 devices and in excess of 500 Mbps of traffic. Not one call was made to the support desk on the first day.
"Initial reports are all positive, with smiling staff and students loving their new Wireless LAN experience, with one class even spontaneously breaking out into a round of applause when the Accucom engineer stopped by their classroom to perform the post-deployment RF survey. You can’t get much better feedback than that."