Somervale School Gains 100% Wireless Coverage

2016/04/21 • Education, Feature, Mobility • Views: 1035

Advanced technology helps achieve 100% wireless attendance across the school.

Running too many wireless devices in close proximity used to cause issues with signal quality and speed at Somervale School, but those problems are now a thing of the past thanks to advanced wireless technology.

As with many schools, colleges and universities, Somervale School, in Midsomer Norton, had a growing demand for reliable wireless infrastructure that would enable teachers and support staff to deliver technology-based lessons and carry out daily tasks.

To meet growing demand, the existing wireless set-up was in need of a revamp, and UK IT Corp was chosen following a four-way tender to work with the school’s network manager, Tim Sheppard, to scope and deliver the most advantageous infrastructure.

As a starting point, UK IT Corp used advanced tools to carry out a free Wireless Site Survey. “This initial survey gave us a really good understanding of how the proposed wireless infrastructure would work, and UK IT Corp helped us to identify the optimum number of access points to deliver our list of key requirements,” explained Tim. Following the survey, these key requirements were summarised as below:

  • 100% wireless coverage within teaching areas; outdoor coverage of school playing fields
  • Enterprise-level wireless network infrastructure
  • Optimum network management system for a multi-vendor environment
  • Indoor/outdoor guest access
  • Affordable solution delivered by future-proofed technology
  • Comprehensive and user-friendly reporting tools
  • Minimal ongoing costs to complement existing in-house IT support

UK IT Corp’s vast experience in tailoring the type of resourceful enterprise-level wireless network needed while making budgets go a very long way stood out for Somervale School. And as a Huawei Silver Enterprise Partner, UK IT Corp was ideally placed with all the technical and product knowledge required to meet the brief. Using invaluable insight gained during the Wireless Site Survey and by developing a real understanding of the challenges facing the school, UK IT Corp proposed a future-proofed wireless network infrastructure from Huawei renowned for its proven carrier-grade technology, exceptional signal strength, comprehensive management tools and service reliability.

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The specification tailored for Somervale School consists of 1 x AC6605 Access Controller, 45 x AP5030/5130 Indoor Access Points, 1 x AP6510DN Outdoor Access Point and 5 x Huawei SS700 LI-Series Gigabit Switches.

Central to this infrastructure is the Huawei eSight Enterprise Management System. Key to delivering optimum performance within a multi-vendor environment, this new-generation management system helps network managers and IT teams to integrate multi-vendor devices, each often running its own complex management system. Being a system of lightweight design, eSight can run on portable devices, enabling access to the network to check its status from any location, at any time. Through collaboration with UK IT Corp and Huawei, the eSight Management System was upgraded with a WLAN Manager, a Network Traffic Analyser and a SMART Reporter.

The high-performance AC6605 Access Controller was chosen for its advanced management features, highly secure network and ability to integrate 1,000 M Ethernet switch functionality, for both wired and wireless access control. Moving on to access points, the indoor AP5030 and AP5130 are known to perform well in high user density areas, helping to achieve 100% coverage. And for outdoor wireless connectivity, the highly protected zero-touch deployment AP6510DN was the preferred choice given its suitability for challenging environments. Energy-saving SS700 LI-Series Gigabit Switches were proposed for their reliability and high bandwidth offering.

Commenting on the deployment stage, Somervale’s network manager Tim said:

“Working with a knowledgeable IT specialist such as UK IT Corp on this project allowed it to be rolled out smoothly, which enabled the staff to get on with using, and enjoying, the new system. We found their support – before, during and after installation – to be excellent; they were very helpful and issues were always quickly dealt with.”

Prior to deployment of the new wireless infrastructure, the school’s teaching staff were continually affected by the inconsistency of the wireless signal – something that Tim was very aware of. “Having the new Huawei wireless network in place has brought massive benefits to the school,” he explained. “The use of mobile devices as part of lesson plans has increased because the teaching staff have more confidence in the system. We used to limit the number of mobile devices being used in close proximity due to the risk of losing signal quality and speed. Thankfully, that’s no longer a concern.”

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In addition to the benefits being experienced by the teaching staff, Tim, in his role as network manager, also has a range of comprehensive reporting tools at his fingertips, allowing him to n IT support for the school. He commented: “UK IT Corp made sure they understood what would make a positive difference to my role and they worked hard to ensure that the new system would deliver solutions to address the challenges I faced. A key improvement for me is being able to login to the wireless controller and see reports that summarise which access point is being used the most, and for what type of traffic. This helps me to be to be much more proactive in my role and look ahead to eliminate traffic bottlenecks. And the fact that I am 100% sure of a wireless signal wherever I am in the school has made a big difference to my everyday work.”

Huawei’s enterprise channel account manager, Paul Augaitis, commented on UK IT Corp’s approach, highlighting: “We have a very close working relationship with UK IT Corp. Through this, we have real confidence in their ability and commitment to ensuring the end customer gets the very best out of Huawei’s products and systems.”