Major Changes to Andrean Network Infrastructure During Summer 2016

posted Jul 9, 2016, 3:25 PM by Kelly Murphy   [ updated Aug 5, 2016, 7:06 PM ]
It was a busy summer for technology enhancements at Andrean High School. New network switches and servers were installed, new cabling has been run to most classrooms, and a new firewall has been configured that will secure our network. Although there has been a lot already accomplished, there is still more to be done before the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

The summer activities have concentrated on the stability and speed of our network. Once we get a robust and reliable network, we will then address our goal of providing technology professional development to teachers to assist them in the integration of technology into our curriculum.

Summary of Summer 2016 initiatives:

During the 2015-16 school year, a site assessment was done at Andrean High School to determine the present state of the technology infrastructure and to make recommendations on how to enhance and improve the design of the network. Because of the magnitude of changes that needed to be made, there were two stages of network enhancements needed to be scheduled. The first stage was scheduled for Summer 2016, and the second stage will be scheduled for no later than summer 2017. Here are the activities that took place during summer 2016:

  • Creation of new data closets located in strategic locations around the building. The site assessment indicated that numerous network switches were located in locations that did properly serve their respective  areas. These switches were replaced with 8 high speed devices and moved to new locations. Due to the new locations, the network cable connecting these new data closets were replaced with either fiber optic cable or high speed Cat-6e cable. The previous speed (point to point communication between our data closets) averaged 10 to 100 MB with some isolated area running at 1 gigbyte (1000MB or 1GB). After the installation of new switches all of our wiring closets are now running at either 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 10GB.
  • Network cabling to classrooms replaced. Because of the relocation of the Andrean data closets, approximately 90% of all classrooms had to have new high speed network cable installed. These new installations are now going directly to the data closets instead of small switches located in isolated locations.
  • The computer labs located at Room 30, 127 and 129 were completely rewired. All lab computers now are directly connected to individual high speed network switches (instead of individual mini-switches located at each row of computers) which will ensure increased network performance.  
  • Firewall (AntiVirus, Content filtering, and Intrusion Detection). The existing antivirus and content filtering software was not adequately meeting the standards of modern network security. A new appliance was installed that provides anti-virus protection, filtering of websites that are not appropriate for our educational environment, and protection from current malicious internet activity.
  • Two new servers. Our existing servers were recommissioned  and combined with two new servers to adequately provide the current and future needs of Andrean computing. We now have server redundancy built in, additional capacity for future growth and automated backup both locally and to the cloud.
  • Computer / Network switch rack enclosures. Because of the new network switches, new servers, and new data closets; we installed new wall mounted computer racks to secure the  additional equipment. All of the new rack enclosures required the installation of dedicated electrical lines for reliable and steady power.
  • Security cameras.To ensure the safety of our students and staff, our entire security camera system was enhanced to provide increased coverage of all areas of the building.
  • Internet Bandwidth - To increase the performance and speed of internet based educational resources. the internet bandwidth was increased by 50%
  • Roadmap for the 2016-17 school year: 
    • All building computers will be reconfigured to provide enhanced performance and our previous workstation antivirus software will be replaced with Symantec Antivirus. We are also in negotiation to replace the computers in all of the computer labs. 
    • We will be investigating how new classroom and computer technology can enhance the instructional process. A primary component of this initiative is the creation of a high technology training lab for students and teachers. More details on this will be announced in the future.
    • Wireless access at our athletic fields will be examined and enhanced.