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SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / November 2006 / Ashland Schools Invest in Major Network Upgrade

Ashland Schools Invest in Major Network Upgrade

Mike Prinslow

Ashland Network Upgrade Team
Ashland Network Upgrade Team

This summer while Ashland students were vacationing, Southern Oregon ESD staff members Chad McClure, Mike Macaluso and Israel Mathewson, along with Ashland Systems Coordinator Steve Mitzel, visited every wiring closet in the district and replaced antiquated switch equipment with modern Cisco switches.

The equipment cost for this project was approximately $340,000. Ashland staff put in approximately 100 hours of time with another 40 estimated for completion. SOESD staff contributed about 120 hours at no cost to the district.

According to Steve, before this upgrade they were running on a series of disparate switches including SMC, 3COM, Allied Telesyn, Dell and CENTRECOM. Trying to manage and troubleshoot network issues was nearly impossible. For example, tracking down errant systems would take hours of manual searching and various network utilities. Steve indicated that sometimes this process would cripple the network. Backbone connections between wiring closets or between buildings were inconsistent. Speeds ranged from 10 Mbs to 100 Mbs, which could cause congestion. Some equipment was so old that it was failing on a regular basis.

The “new” network is designed to have high availability, enhanced manageability, security, and be scalable. Ashland School District's future plans include supporting campus-wide wireless networks, VoIP (voice over IP telephones), and video services.

Today the Ashland School District network switch infrastructure consists of Cisco Catalayst series switches. This allows for network backbone speeds of up to 1 Gbs (which is 10 to 100 times faster than the old network). In addition, the new system provides easy management and monitoring with Cisco Network Assistant. Tracking down issues is now much easier and timelier and doesn’t break the rest of the network. When Ashland students returned from their summer vacations, they were greeted by a new network built to never take a break.




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