Meadowside Primary School opened in September 2000 and was one of the first eco-friendly schools in the county. The school buildings are constructed from sustainable resources and the staff encourage pupils to think about the environment.
The management at Meadowside originally engaged with staff from System 15 seeking assistance for their temperamental wireless network which caused headaches and frustrations for teaching staff.
The wireless network was constantly dropping out, meaning that teachers could not successfully deliver their lessons because the internet was unavailable. In addition staff could not roam between classrooms or to the main hall without having to restart their laptops to rejoin the network.
Due to the school walls being manufactured from an eco-friendly building material it also meant that wireless signal was being readily absorbed and there were a number of dead spots around the campus where there was no wireless signal.
System 15 also recommended an audit of the entire IT infrastructure with a view to looking at suggestions and improvements throughout the school.
System 15 performed analysis of the existing wireless network and produced a report of findings. It was determined that half of the wireless access points were actually non-functioning and not forming part of the network.
System 15 also found that the existing access points were not well suited for the role they were performing because they didn’t allow staff to remain connected to the network as they moved around the school. Finally, it turned out that all of the laptops and PCs throughout the school had been assigned a static IP address, and there were often conflicts of addresses meaning that staff could not even connect to the network.
The solution implemented by System 15 involved removing the remainder of the wireless network and installing new UniFi access points. These are high powered, enterprise-class access points which were fully configured to formed a large-scale single network.
For the first time staff could now roam throughout the school, being passed seamlessly between access points while maintaining a connection to the network. No more rebooting of laptops to pick up on a new IP address or to re-join a wireless network because signal had been lost. Staff could now also wirelessly send jobs to the printer no matter which classroom they were located in.
Other devices such as phone and tablets could now also be connected to the network as the wireless network and IP address handling was now correctly controlled via the Meadowside Windows Server.
System 15 not only reduced the number of access points throughout the school by 50% in comparison to the old system but also dramatically improved the signal strength through the school, playground and school fields.
FURTHER BUSINESS BENEFITS
Since engaging with Meadowside, System 15 have introduced a large number of other cost-effective system improvements.
One of the most impressive from the school’s point of view is the automated deployment of software. Traditionally when new educational software needed to be installed it was a very manual process that involved inserting a CD into each PC and running though the setup. For larger rooms such as the IT suite comprising 20+ PCs this took a considerable amount of a teacher's time.
System 15 have introduced automatic software deployment based on Group Policies, and by using Meadowside’s new Windows Server 2012 R2 this is a straightforward task. Once the PCs in the IT suite are switched on the server deploys the software across the network to all of the selected PCs. This has freed up staff to concentrate on more important non-IT matters.
"System 15 complete all work professionally and quickly but what impresses me the most is the quality of customer care. Everything is explained simply and they make sure that everything works correctly. I never feel the frustrations that I have felt with other providers. We are so impressed with the work System 15 have completed on our network and laptop upgrades and the IT support that we receive. They provide contracted support for all our computing and audio visual equipment and we would recommend them to anyone."
Mr. D. Port, Deputy Headmaster - Meadowside Primary School.