UK’s Eton College picks Extreme Networks

Internationally renowned boarding school Eton College has selected Extreme Networks Inc., (Nasdaq: EXTR) and UK systems integrator Data Integration to replace its legacy ATM network with an advanced Ethernet network infrastructure from Extreme Networks(R) and which is supported by partner Data Integration.

Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, Eton College is a school that pursues excellence, nurtures independence and encourages initiative beyond self-interest in a way that maintains real breadth and diversity. Today, there are nearly 1300 boys at the school between the ages of 13 and 18, all of whom board, along with a residential teaching and support staff of more than 400. Eton College has maintained a forward-thinking approach to learning. All pupils have laptops connected to the network throughout dormitories and the school will implement wireless LAN access points to facilitate interactive learning.To support its mission, Eton College required the very latest solutions from Extreme Networks(R) that support current expanding network requirements, such as full-motion video and 100 Mbps connections to the desktop, while also providing a foundation for future plans, including IP telephony and a strategy for personalized learning. Eton College also needed the flexibility to control access on both a PC-by-PC and user-by-user basis cost effectively connecting all 400 buildings owned by the school in a single Local Area Network (LAN) design.”Eton College is committed to helping pupils to use both internal and Internet-based learning resources to further their studies, yet we are also in loco parentis during term time,” said Liam Maxwell, Head of ICT at Eton College. “We want pupils to gain the maximum benefit from these resources but assure their parents that we are in ultimate control of when and what they are doing; to pursue a strategy based on individual responsibility rather than denial of access. This presents a peculiar set of challenges not often found in either the public or the corporate sectors.

Maxwell’s team had to ensure that the network is used in line with school rules on learning and entertainment. Network access rights are determined by a number of factors including the age of the pupil, study schedules and the boarding house to which the pupil belongs. This presents a unique management challenge. To address this, Data Integration and Eton College worked with Extreme Networks Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to develop additional software code to further simplify the enforcement of access policy at the edge of the network. In addition, Eton College has established virtual LANs to segment the IT infrastructure logically by user group.

Eton College selected the Extreme Networks and Data Integration solution following an extensive benchmarking of products from a number of competing networking vendors. The Extreme Networks infrastructure recommended by Data Integration takes an innovative approach to delivering against Eton College’s unusual requirements. The College is one of the first UK customers for Extreme Networks latest Summit(R) X450 switch based on Extreme XOS(TM), Extreme Networks modular operating system. Originally designed for the service provider market, the Summit X450 provides core switching capabilities, such as high availability, resiliency and advanced management, in the smaller and less-expensive form-factor of a stackable edge switch.

“The Extreme Networks and Data Integration package is an ideal fit with our requirements,” continued Maxwell. “Data Integration understood our needs while Extreme Networks technology was able to deliver. We now have a reliable network that applies our access policies seamlessly and enables us to focus on teaching and developing our ICT resources, rather than managing the network.”

With 400 buildings spread over four square miles the network at Eton College covers a relatively large campus. This presented Data Integration with the design challenge of building a campus network with the bandwidth of a LAN. Data Integration identified four key locations that would aggregate traffic from across the entire network. With a Summit(R) X450 at each location, all interconnected over Gigabit connections, Eton College has built a high-speed, highly available core network with ample bandwidth.

The first two stages of the network deployment, core replacement and edge refresh, have been completed on time and under budget, while the final stage of the project, a wireless LAN deployment, is set to go-live this month. The wireless LAN project will see access points installed in the Computer Science and Science teaching facilities so that pupils can bring their laptops into class and the school can better exploit electronic teaching resources on the network.

“Extreme Networks strategy of making advanced management and carrier-class features available throughout our product range fit perfectly with Eton College’s requirements for an advanced set of features on its network without deploying large modular core switches,” said
Scott Lucas, senior director of solutions marketing for Extreme Networks. “With a detailed knowledge of our technology and a great understanding of Eton College’s unique needs, Data Integration has delivered a solution that not only meets the schools requirements but came in on time and under budget.”

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