“Express Data’s help in this project was immeasurable. From the initial consultancy, through the design stages, and right through to the implementation, Express Data were helpful, flexible and professional throughout.”
Computer Services Manager
Thomas Danby College
The complete installation solved all the problems which had dogged the network, and provided the college with a future-proof solution which fell within the relatively tight budget.
Express Data is now Thomas Danby’s preferred supplier of all their networking requirements as the college continues to grow and provide a thoroughly modern and wide-ranging education environment through advances in network security, Quality of Service and multimedia.
Express Data recommended an Allied Telesyn SwitchBlade solution for the core, and brought the existing edge switches inline with IEEE standards of 802.1q VLAN tagging. This allowed a more affordable edge switch solution when expansion occurred.
Spare capacity on the core switch allowed future installation of new line cards to increase bandwidth to the edge and provide more Gigabit connections at the core for servers.
The Inty Exoserver firewall proved to be the most cost-effective answer to the college’s security issues, whilst also providing DMZ and VPN gateway functionality to allow the remote learning sites to be linked to the Internet and back to the main site servers.
The issue of remote access was addressed in a number of steps:
Firstly, ISDN access was installed and ADSL where available, with a cost-effective routing solution providing firewall, DHCP, 4-port switch and VPN capability at each remote site.
Terminal server function was set up to aid in the reduction of the bandwidth requirements, and access back to the main site was easy to set up with VPN giving staff access to student record systems, intranet and email. Express Data also implemented a comprehensive URL filtering system to control the use of inappropriate web pages.
The network at Thomas Danby College was suffering from erratic performance and persistent failure, causing students and staff a consistent stream of problems throughout their daily work.
The entire network had been subject to a review with an agreed design and a solution installed as a result. Unfortunately the solution was to be compromised and the implementation was left lacking in certain areas, resulting in severe bottle-necks and over-utilisation of key switches and routers.
The design had also failed to take into account basic issues such as where DNS resolution would take place, and there was very little in the way of protection with no firewall or content filtering system installed.
As the college expanded and a dependable network became increasingly important, the IT Department made the decision to bring in a team of networking experts to help solve the problems and provide a solution which could grow with the college.
Express Data was invited to conduct an investigation with an immediate requirement to increase up-time and reliability, and as always was able to look at the situation with an open mind.
Having a number of business relationships with some of the World’s leading manufacturers meant that Express Data was able to recommend the most appropriate solution to the college whilst maintaining flexibility and technical capability within the college’s budget.
There were several key elements that had to be taken into consideration for the project:
- Cabling, type and quality of installation
- Core switching, to provide L3 at wire speed and non-blocking throughput at Gigabit speeds
- Edge connectivity and control of the 10/100 environment
- Firewall and DNS issues, also the creation of a DM
- Content control
- Remote connectivity