Orange Christian School chalks up networking improvements

New South Wales regional school reduces switching errors, now focusing on tablet rollout

Networking issues such as switching errors are largely consigned to the past for Orange Christian School, following the introduction of networking performance monitoring in July this year.

The school's IT supervisor, Justin Dwyer, told Computerworld Australia that when he began employment at the school 18 months ago the networking setup was “a mess”.

For example, if a staff member tried to print documents this could be sent to any of the school’s 28 printers on the network.

To try and sort out these networking problems, he installed a 30-day trial of the SolarWinds network performance monitor (NPM) offering in July 2012. NPM alerts the IT team if a switch or workstation goes down allowing them to fix it before it affects staff and pupils.

“As soon as we turned it [NPM] on we saw our switches were experiencing millions of errors,” Dwyer said.

“We got onto our switching vendor, HP, and they asked us to change some settings within the switch. Those errors have cut down to about a tenth of what they were."

In addition, staff at the school can now log on and view their network drives.

However, Dwyer said that his biggest issue is Internet speeds as the school does not currently have access to asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL).

“Our only way to get Internet is via a wireless connection and while that works it’s slow and expensive compared to ADSL or what you would get with the National Broadband Network [NBN],” he said.

“We’re waiting for the NBN to come but at this stage Orange is not on the list of areas due to receive the NBN over the next three years,” he said.

Dwyer's network map includes 200 PCs, 70 iPads and 28 printers.

“Introducing iPads for Year 11 and 12 students has lessened our use of PCs because the students now have their own device they can use to surf the Internet and create their own content,” he said.

In addition, the school plans to introduce 100 tablets over the next two years for Year 9 and 10 students.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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