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Perth's All Saints' College alleviates network congestion with Ruckus

Earlier this year, All Saints' College overhauled its legacy network and replaced it with a Ruckus Wireless smart Wi-Fi infrastructure to support its 1,335 students.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Before this year, the teachers and students of All Saints' College in Perth were constantly faced with issues such as slow internet connection and access to a congested network.

The blame fell on the antiquated HP wireless environment that the school had been running on for five years to support the learning curriculum for its 1,335 students. Students from years 3 to 12 at the coeducational school each have their own tablet or notebook as part of the school's 1:1 notebook program.

Speaking to ZDNet, Ian Mackay-Scollay, All Saints' College ICT manager, said it was clear that after receiving numerous criticisms from teachers and students, the school had to do something to address the issue.

"Teachers were complaining about access to a point where some were saying they couldn't mark the role," he said.

When asked why the school did not respond sooner to the complaints, Mackay-Scollay blamed leadership for not seeing the upgrade as being "vitally important".

"I think they thought we spent awfully a lot on end-user device, why should we spend more on infrastructure. We also had a change of principal at the end of 2013, and she has seen that infrastructure spending is also part of the equation, and that has been my role -- to educate the leadership about why infrastructure is equally as important as the end-user devices," he said.

Mackay-Scollay said that during the decision process, the school considered partnering with industry players including HP, Cisco, Aerohive Networks, Xirrus, and Ruckus Wireless, but narrowed it down to Ruckus Wireless and Xirrus.

In order for the college to decide on which vendor to partner with following the initial evaluation, the school ran a four-week trial using the year 5 and 6 school block, the building that was suffering the worst congestion.

"It was a toss between Ruckus and Xirrus. Xirrus improved matters when we did the trial in the block, but when we did the trial of Ruckus, it was just so much better," Mackay-Scollay said.

As a result, the college approved the full rip and replace of its legacy network and deployed the Ruckus smart Wi-Fi infrastructure. It also saw the installation of a ZoneDirector 3000 controller and 70 ZoneFlex R700 indoor dual-band 3x3 802.11ac access points. The replacement was completed within eight days over the summer school holiday period.

Since the installation of the new network, Mackay-Scollay said the school has seen speeds increase by tenfold.

The school is also now able to offer visitors access to its guest Wi-Fi, which Macky-Scollay described is a "nice value add" for visitors to the school cafe, who are mainly parents or people who hire the college's performing arts centre.

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