Infrastructure overhaul lifts school’s grades

Sydney-based Moriah College has replaced its legacy networking infrastructure in a move to deliver better online learning to students.

“The network’s performance was terrible,” Fred Sewell, Moriah’s IT manager, said. “It came to a point where the network was dying and something had to be done. In an educational environment the students for a particular class all logon to the network at the same time and this was causing it to choke.”

Earlier this year, Moriah began replacing its core and edge switches with Nortel Networks’ Passport and Baystack equipment. The college completed the implementation this month at a cost of about $200,000.

“By upgrading our Internet access to a 2Mbps SHDSL link and implementing an internal gigabit backbone, the bottlenecks are gone,” Sewell said. “We can now build services on top of the network which was previously one of ‘no confidence’ for teachers.”

Moriah’s IT department performed all the switch installations in a way that Sewell described as “easy”.

“Nortel equipment is easy to work with and if we had any problems we could call the helpdesk,” he said.

The college considered other vendors for the equipment but, according to Sewell, Nortel offered the best value.

“Nortel equipment supports a range of services, can aggregate fibre links, and allows us to have a gigabit backbone,” he said.

The enterprise-scale network also features two VPNs – one for students, the other for staff.

“The students access their services – such as those for files and printing – through their VPN, while the staff access all the information services on their network,” Sewell said. “Overall, we are happy with the upgrade which did not involve redesigning any existing cabling.”

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