Norton School Delivers on Vision for Teaching

2016/04/21 • Education, Feature • Views: 1330

A desire to see wireless devices used not only in every classroom but also out on the playing fields was just one of the driving forces behind Norton Hill School’s decision to accept a new wireless solution.

Following a four-way tender in which school wireless network specialist UK IT Corp was the chosen provider, the school’s teachers, staff, students and visitors now benefit from Huawei’s leading-edge, highly reliable wireless network solution.

For Norton Hill School, a co-educational 11–18 school with over 1,500 pupils in North East Somerset, the existing wireless set-up was limiting. It was holding back the school’s ambitions for 100% wireless coverage in teaching areas, outdoor coverage for the playing fields, and the provision of guest access for students and visitors.

Using the findings of the Wireless Site Survey, which uses advanced tools to deliver a detailed and complete WLAN design, and through collaboration between UK IT Corp’s project team and school network manager Andy Webber, the key requirements were identified as:

  • Cost-effective solution with enterprise-level capability
  • 100% wireless coverage of school teaching areas
  • Outdoor wireless coverage of school playing fields
  • Guest access both indoor and outdoor for visitors and for use during afterschool activities
  • Affordable network management system that supports a multi-vendor environment
  • Future-proofed technology
  • Low ongoing costs to reflect the in-house IT support already in place

As a leading provider of IT services and solutions into schools, UK IT Corp has comprehensive experience in tailoring cost- effective, resourceful and practical wireless networks – striving for excellence in all service aspects. And as a Huawei Silver Enterprise Partner, UK IT Corp was confident that this best-in-class vendor would not only provide proven carrier grade technology with the latest wireless networking standard (802.11 ac as at August 2014), but that the ongoing technical support and service reliability would be at an equally high level.

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Tailored to the school’s requirements, the Standard eSight Management System was enhanced with a SMART reporter, a WLAN Manager and a Network Traffic Analyser.

The large-capacity, high-performance design AC6605 Access Controller was chosen to deliver secure network access with advanced management features, ideal for medium- to large-scale enterprise networks such as schools. The cost-effective indoor AP5030 and AP5130 provide gigabit access for wireless users, making them the optimum choice for delivering 100% coverage. For outdoor wireless coverage, the enhanced AP6510DN, with its high level of physical protection, was proposed for its proven ability in achieving fast start-up in low-temperature environments – ideal for the school’s playing fields.

To meet Norton Hill’s need for high-bandwidth access, the Huawei SS700 LI-Series Gigabit Switches were chosen to provide a reliable, energy- saving solution. Network manager Andy Webber praised UK IT Corp’s approach to the entire project, highlighting one keyword that encapsulates why, in his opinion, they shone: communication. “Their communication really was excellent,” Mr. Webber explained. “They were always on the case, always wanting to be involved to make sure any teething problems were resolved quickly and efficiently, however small. I still receive regular phone calls now – their approach to communication made them stand out for me.”

The school’s plan of providing a leading-edge wireless network that enables teachers to deliver their lessons using Google Chromebooks wherever required around the school has now been realised. Mr. Webber commented, “The teachers are happy – they no longer have to point the Google Chromebooks in a certain direction to get a signal! They get reliable, strong wireless coverage in every classroom… and they can even take lessons outside and not worry about the signal dropping out. It’s exactly what we needed.”

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In addition to the technological benefits of Huawei’s wireless infrastructure, cost-effectiveness is also up there as a main advantage. UK IT Corp’s sales director, Neil Jelley, explained, “Unlike some other vendors, Huawei doesn’t demand ongoing licences and there are no hidden costs. This positive aspect, and the excellent pricing support we receive from Huawei in general, truly helps us to meet – and extend – our customers’ budgets and give them a future-proofed design that doesn’t become a drain on their budgets for years to come.”

For ongoing support, the school will benefit from ‘UK IT Care’ – a service-focused support offering which includes next-day swap out on indoor APs and telephone support for all equipment. Summing up the positive feelings from the school, Mr. Webber commented, “At Norton Hill, we now have a seamless wireless infrastructure that works when, where and how we want it to. We’re only a couple of weeks into the new academic year but already we’re benefitting from a very reliable system that does exactly what we were told it would do. We’re happy.”

Commenting on UK IT Corp as a Huawei Silver Enterprise Partner, enterprise channel account manager, Paul Augaitis, said, “UK IT Corp works exceptionally hard with Huawei to understand our product offering and technological innovations. As a result of this hard work and through our close working relationship, we are confident that UK IT Corp will always describe and demonstrate our technology to best effect, ensuring the end users appreciate the benefits it will bring to them. Their attentive approach to project management builds positive relationships with our end users, and they always ask the right questions to make sure they can fully support their customers with any product- or system-related query.”

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