A school of 1000+ staff and students can’t afford to be frustrated by their technology.
Loyola College was founded in 1980, built across 26 acres in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburb of Watsonia. Today, Loyola College is home to approximately 1,500 staff and students.
Loyola’s technological issues had been ongoing for several years, with a weak wireless network across the entire school. Staff and students experienced frequent drop outs, with poor network reliability causing staff to lose access to their email during outages. Accompanying this was the issue of an aging PABX (automatic telephone switching) system that had no ability for staff collaboration or interactive voice response.
At this time, Loyola held an inhouse support team that was supplemented by external providers completing projects. Their team was faced with high turnover and low stability. There were also concerns around the security of their network, and what accesses / privileges were being granted to staff members. Loyola was struggling to retain staff and attracting specialist IT knowledge was proving difficult.
Loyola’s long-term goal was to be a school constantly available online and able to access the internet from all points on campus. The reliability and connection issues were preventing this from becoming a reality. Their old system was being used for practically everything; Helpdesk support, professional development, email and internet. Loyola were connected through the CNA, but the constant outages and high price had convinced them that they needed to seek an alternate options. This is when CT were engaged.
CT were asked to upgrade Loyola’s whole network, with the aim to transform their IT environment and enable them to be a school always online. The solution involved a comprehensive approach to upgrade every aspect of the school’s technology over multiple stages. To achieve this CT had to work through an array of activities. Some of these included upgrading the internet connection and the voice carriage services, assisting in the IT curriculum, creating a device portal for parents along with an eLearning committee.
Another huge area of upgrade for Loyola was the installation of 110 CCTV cameras, 40 servers, 64 switches and 125 wireless access points. CT were responsible for the procurement of all hardware, along with the maintenance and upgrade of 2,360 school devices.
“CT were able to fulfil our long-term goal, allowing us to operate as a school that is ‘always online.”
CT delivered an MPLS network connecting their private cloud into the campus with full DDOS protection. This added routing capabilities throughout the network, providing Loyola the ability to run any of their services from this cloud environment at any time, as well as supporting active-active workloads. CT built the wireless network across the campus using Aruba, which cleaned the blackspots and ensured density with support for over 45 devices in each classroom and all at 5GHz across the campus.
The servers were scaled out using virtualisation technology. CT stored these servers on an enterprise grade SAN, with a combination of SSD and SAS technology disks. This solution was selected as it provided the best balance between cost and performance. The host servers provided Loyola with the throughput required to run a busy Schoolbox, Synergetic, Websense platforms and workloads without introducing latency or lag.
To improve the voice capabilities, CT rolled out Skype for Business, including 50 Polycom handsets and 140 Plantronics headsets to all teaching staff. In addition this solution incorporated change management and training sessions on the platform.
Today, Loyola has three in-house team members and one embedded CT employee based purely on site to manage the in-house team. This ensures that CT delivers on their responsibilities and adds a layer of security between Loyola’s data and the ICT team. Going the extra mile, when Loyola’s team members are on leave, CT provides resources to fill in for the time period needed. This proves very successful as it creates greater efficiency for the CT employee who already understands the systems and network.
As a result of all these changes, IT is now well-respected as a core necessity to Loyola’s education. Teachers have confidence in their classroom technology and no longer experience the overwhelming amount of technological downtime that they previously endured. The CT solution has provided staff with the ability to receive voicemail directly from email and provided the opportunity to work from anywhere. CT has enabled a better flow of communication between staff, students and teachers while maximising efficiency and removing constant downtime.