St. George’s is a premier private secondary school in England, with very strong history of academic achievement. In fact, in 2012, 52% of the students taking the GSCE exams achieved a score of A or A*. Therefore the school must provide students and staff with an advanced and safe ICT environment.
The College currently has over 500 networked computers (at least one per classroom), including 10 special classrooms with a larger number of computers. These classrooms are dedicated to subjects such as ICT, Design & Technology, arts and music. The ICT infrastructure includes two ‘comms’ rooms at each school location, operating 40 virtual servers on 10 physical servers. Previous to the network upgrade, St. George’s was operating a 1Gb network between buildings, with 100Mb to the desktop. As the school increased network heavy services, such as desktop visualisation and streaming video, it became clear that the bandwidth was not adequate.
In July of 2012, St. George’s approached Huawei partner G3 Comms, asking them to assist with an overall network infrastructure upgrade. G3 Comms considered the needs of the school in terms of capacity, capabilities plus cost, and developed a proposal based on Huawei’s 10 Gb solution.
Like any school, St. George’s operates under tight budget restrictions, so the solution needed to be priced competitively and offer a lower cost of operation over the life of the network. A number of possible vendors were evaluated, including the incumbent provider of the school’s existing 1Gb network. However, none could compete with the performance and cost advantages of the Huawei solution consisting of two Huawei S6700 switches in the core, and 36 Huawei S5700 switches in the access layer.
The school began to realise the benefits of the new Huawei network almost immediately. For example, the time it takes for the school to update software on the networked PCs dropped dramatically. With the previous network, most software updates were applied in limited, restrictive batches. Following the upgrade, all upgrades are now done once, from a central location. The Huawei solution has allowed St. George’s to push network applications and virtual services into more classrooms. The network speed is also very beneficial to the school’s growing streaming video program. Soon each classroom will have the ability to stream video and to participate in global ‘online’ learning initiatives, and this would not be possible without the fast network speeds provided by the Huawei Campus solution.
Scalability was another key benefit. The school is quite large, with approximately 1,500 students plus 300 faculty and staff. ICT services are continuously being added to the classrooms. At the same time, selected students are bringing their own devices to use on the school network. This creates a large number of concurrent network users who must be supported at once and the Huawei solution is more than adequate at handling this. Finally, with a significant educational discount. Huawei was able to offer the school a price and an on-going running cost that made the project a win-win for both sides.