More Education All-Stars

Six educational institutions find creative ways to use networks.

CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

This Las Vegas school district has undertaken a massive IP telephony project aimed at placing a phone in every classroom to improve parent-teacher communication and school safety. Ultimately, the $32 million project will entail 27,000 phones at 317 sites, providing a standard set of features and E911 across the network. Clark County School District expects to save $1.5 million to $2 million annually in administrative and operational costs vs. the spending required for a Centrex alternative. With help from Verizon, CCSD built the VoIP infrastructure on top of a Gigabit Ethernet WAN using Alcatel's OmniPCX Enterprise IP phone system.

COPPIN STATE UNIVERSITY

In a multifaceted, $1.5 million project, this Baltimore university deployed a converged IP infrastructure supporting all voice, data and video applications over a secure Gigabit Ethernet backbone. A campuswide wireless LAN (WLAN ) supports indoor and outdoor mobile access. Coppin State has loaded up "smart classrooms" with audio, video, computer and other tools that it can centrally monitor and manage. Should equipment be removed from one of these classrooms, facilities managers are immediately notified via their wireless 802.11 phones. The university uses Nortel gear, including its Ethernet Routing Switches, the Threat Protection System, switched firewalls, VPN gateway, application switches and CallPilot for unified messaging. Coppin State says the network transformation has helped it boost enrollment and land new grants and financial support from alumni.

SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA

EDUCATION QUICK STATS

MEDIAN PROJECT DURATION:

12 months

MEDIAN PROJECT BUDGET:

$1.5 million

NOTEWORTHY:

Project budgets in this category ranged from $100,000 to $32 million, the highest on the All-Star list.

An optical Ethernet backbone is enabling the School District of Philadelphia to meet its new "Every Child is Connected" initiative. Powering the network are Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switch 8600 and Ethernet over SONET through Resilient Packet Ring on an Optical Metro 3500 SONET platform. IP voice calls pass onto the optical backbone via IP PBXs connected to the Ethernet switches. The SDP has connected its 264 schools, delivering 1,000 times the bandwidth previously available. The SDP now provides in-class videoconferencing, streaming video, virtual schooling and voice messaging, among other applications. In addition, students can connect from home, teachers can support real-time, online exams and grading, and parents can access online student records. SDP has invested tens of millions of dollars in the network. It expects to recoup the cost within three years.

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

The IT team at this university faced a big challenge when searching for ways to deliver wireless connectivity from any spot on this wooded, hilly campus in Fayetteville, Ark. After ruling out hard-wired access points as physically infeasible, the IT team decided on a wireless mesh network. With a $100,000 investment, the University of Arkansas built a wireless mesh network and opened Internet and e-mail access to the 16,000-member student body across nearly all of the main campus. The university deployed Nortel's Wireless Access Point 7220 with auto-discovery and self-routing technology, plus the Wireless Gateway 7250, which enables user mobility and secures data on the network. The network also provides connectivity for public safety officers.

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, MILLER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

IT executives at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine have a goal to provide secure wireless coverage through the sprawling medical center for guest users, registered users, mobile carts, PDAs and voice services. IT has established a "community cloud," providing 1.5 square miles of outdoor wireless coverage for a wide range of facilities. Within the next two years, the IT leaders expect a pervasive network will carry 700 to 2,000 wireless connections on a sustained basis. The medical school has invested more than $800,000 to support its mobile healthcare strategy. Technology in use includes Meru Networks' WLAN System, a voice-activated communications system from IBM and Vocera Communications, and a wireless bridge to provide a link between remote locations and the University of Miami Medical Center. IT expects to earn an ROI from efficiencies gained in mobilizing the workforce and providing real-time communication tools.

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

To combat fast-moving virus attacks, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill built an automated virus response system that combines off-the-shelf security wares with custom programming. The IT team topped off existing in-line intrusion-prevention appliances with Enterasys Network's Dragon intrusion-detection device, Dynamic Intrusion Response from Intrusion Prevention technology, and NetSight Network Management Software tools. With this setup, UNC can identify virus hits and isolate user machines by moving them to a remediation virtual LAN. During this process, every step is recorded in a Remedy trouble-ticket system. The average time from getting a virus signature to isolating the user machine is now only 30 seconds. Plus, IT reports reducing the number of virus infections and compromised machines by 70% from the fall of 2003 to the fall of 2004.

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