After many years of resistance I have finally been put in the position of having to have a wireless system in our primary school.
Ideally I would like the current wired network overhauled at the same time. It needs to be a managed network but BYOD is not essential and probably not desirable.
This is not my area of expertise as what is available seems to change monthly.
What I really need is recommendations on what systems are available and the pros and cons, all help very much appreciated.
For wireless, I can't recommend Ruckus enough. We've had it for around 5 years here now, and it works flawlessly.
For wired, it *really* depends on requirements. We run a HP Procurve network here, and it works very well. If I were installing a new network now, I'd be looking at 10GbE from core to edge, simply because 1GbE is not "future proofed" enough.
Thing is, such a setup is pretty expensive, as @dhicks has shown. Our Procurve gear cost us around £45k 6-7 years ago. The core is still current (5406zl), and we recently added 10GbE to it for virtualised servers to utilise. But replacing the edge and updating our older OM1 cable would cost us a fortune, so isn't on our list at the moment.
I'd say your best bet is to speak to a networking specialist at a company such as @Net-Ctrl or @Millgate.
One of our sales and/or tech guys would be happy to jump on a call with you to discuss what you're trying to achieve and make some recommendations. As a company, Net-Ctrl has managed hundreds of networking and wireless projects in schools around the country. Feel free to PM me with any initial questions and i will try and collect the answers from the relevant person and come back to you as soon as i can.
90k spent in a primary school ona network/ wireless. That is more then triple what I can spend on stuff a year (once you take out licenses etc).
Here, £90k on rewiring, new switching and new wifi would disappear in no time. To do that, it'd cost us around £250k now - with most of the cost being sucked up by our old building being a pain to wire in.
Thing with infrastructure cost is that it is a long term investment, so as such it often gets treated as an extraordinary cost. Minimum of 10 year life I'd say. £90k, depreciating over 10 years is not bad at all.
Net-Ctrl for Wired and Wireless work Did some lovely projects with them including a complete network re-design with new switching to go with Ruckus wirless allowing BYOD across the site and it was perfect
Net-Ctrl (14th January 2014)
Thank you for all of you contributions.
More info needed from me.
We have around 400 staff and pupils with 100 pcs at the moment which is due to increase.
The current network is basic cat5e with Netgear GS724T switches, which while ok are not really up to the size network we have. At least one of them is dropping packets for a past time.
It may be that we put in a fibre back bone but keep the current cabling as I don't think we will have enough money to completely rewire.
I should stress that the network copes well ATM but it was a budget solution and bang for buck it has delivered. But it needs to be upgraded!
Last edited by ICT_GUY; 14th January 2014 at 11:48 AM.
Also can anyone provide an example of suitable switches that they would recommend.
At the moment I am trying to get a rough figure together so that we can actually see if we have anywhere near the resources to do this project.
For edge switches, I'd look at the HP 2920 series, and a 5406zl on the core. (Seems overkill but you only need have the modules you need in it).
Although, it might be overkill for the size of network you have.
It is trying to find the right balance. The current solution is suboptimal but works most of the time. However it can easily become bogged down and at least one switch is causing issues enough to be noticeable. Also we have dead ports and no spare capacity. I would rather invest in something that will work well rather than something that works most of the time. :-/
Last edited by ICT_GUY; 14th January 2014 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Quoted myself!
I'd second the HP 2920 series for the edge switches. We went for the PoE version to power our new IP phones and they're great, although maybe a bit noisier than we were hoping - you can get aucoustic network cabinets, but they cost more. If you don't need PoE then the switches should be a bit quieter. If you want IP phones but don't want to put extra points in classrooms, you can use the phone's pass-through RJ45 port to connect a classroom PC.
For the core switch, on reflection I think I'd go for something with OpenFlow support. The 2920s support OpenFlow, and it looks like it's going to be a very useful feature, so having OpenFlow support on your core switch would be a good idea. I see that Pica8 are now doing an "SDN Starter Kit" featuring one of their SDN switches, and I'm sure they do 10GbE capable switches, too.
I'll be happy to help. We're not tied down to one solution so we can quote on any you have in mind. Ruckus, Netgear, HP, Cisco etc.
Feel free to email/PM me and I'll get some more info for you
ICT_GUY (15th January 2014)
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