New Network... Advice Needed... £££ to spend!
Right, let me start by saying hello! I have been a reader of Edugeek for a few weeks now but haven't made the leap into contributing anything yet... mostly because everyone seems so much more knowledgeable than me! So, let me pick your brains and tell you about my situation - hopefully the great intellect that is Edugeek can give me some advice!
I work in a primary school in Kent (430 pupils) that would be considered by most other primary schools (maybe secondary too!) to be spoiled rotten when it comes to ICT provisions... and we are. Money is no object! Example:
If you went to BETT and saw the 3D imaging setup in the RM 'Futures' presentation then you would have seen the 12 grand model. Our head has a vision that the school will be a leader in primary school ICT... and is putting in an order for the 6 metre screen at a whopping 18 thousand pounds... Ouch. But I am not hear to discuss the educational merit of a 3D PowerPoint presentation... I am here to discuss how BEST to spend around 20-25 thousand pounds on a brand new "future-proof" network capable of supporting a wireless device for every child into the next 3 years.
We currently run a 4 year old RM CC3 network that is crippled by an ageing server and wireless network running on PC World bought D-link access points. One in each classroom... 30 laptops attempting to run off one AP... It doesn't take a genius to realise that we were going to run into problems - I'm new to the school by the way, so this was done before my time :wink:
Essentially the head has said - "rip it out and start again, here's the money..." :D
This is what we have now:
- 1 server running a CC3 Curriculum and an Admin network
- 20 wired classroom and office desktops
- 175ish wireless devices ( including 15 x Pupil Asus minibooks, 90 x Pupil Fujitsu-Siemens laptops, 20 x Pupil RM Laptops, 20 x Staff RM Laptops and my personal favourites 30 x Nintendo DS' and a Nintendo Wii :D )
- Told you we were spoiled...
- A wireless network of 16 D-Link Access Points (unmanaged)
The network is failing - painfully slow - because it isn't geared up for wireless access, so I want this to be the focus of our new network.
I've had two quotes for a full install, one from a company supplying a Ranger server the other an upgrade to CC4 from RM. However, when I spoke to both companies they seemed very wary about a wireless solution - The Ranger company advised us to build a new building and put a wired computer suite in! Now, as you can see from our current wireless requirements and vision, that isn't going to happen!
I am totally new to large-scale networks and would love to hear what other suggestions people have. My main questions:
- What alternatives are there to Ranger and CC4? We have no in-house tech support and only one independent contracted technician that comes in two mornings a week. I would love to know if there were any other managed solutions I could consider?
- Is a vanilla install an option without in-house support? Does anyone have any experience of external contracted network support?
- What wireless solutions are there out there? (I've heard good things about Aruba?)
- Is it simply a case of looking in the Yellow pages and ringing up some network installation companies and picking their brains or is there somewhere I can go for education specialist installs/discounts?
Sorry for my massive ramble, if you haven't given up reading yet I would love some help on this one!