St Benedict’s Catholic School for Boys has a reputation as one of the top schools in the country, not least for the effective use it makes of technology to enhance both the teaching and learning experiences. With help from long-standing IT service provider, LanDynamix, the school has implemented a state-of-the-art wireless capability on its extensive campus.
“As a leader in the use of technology in education, it is no surprise that St Benedict’s wanted to make its entire campus wireless in order to enhance the learning and teaching experience and integrate IT even more tightly into the teaching and learning environment,” explains Dane Walker, cloud infrastructure manager at LanDynamix. “However, implementing any wireless environment, especially one covering a large campus environment, is a complex business, which is why the school called us in to consult on the design.”
Walker says that planning is of critical importance in ensuring that the wireless environment is of good quality and highly available. This requires a sound understanding of the factors to be taken into account, as well as which hardware and software would be most appropriate for the specific environment.
“To create a wireless network that actually works as planned means more than just putting up access points. You need to understand how frequency spectrums work, as well as how they can be affected by interference,” he says. “One also has to know the strengths and weaknesses of the various brands, as well as the intricacies of configuration. This is not a plug-and-play situation.”
Both Walker and Peter Clarke, CEO of LanDynamix, are Ekahau Certified Wireless Planners, so can provide this high-level expertise.
Fortinet’s FortiAP product was chosen to create the wireless platform. One of the deciding factors for this was due to St Benedict’s already owning a Fortigate Firewall appliance, a product that LanDynamix specialise in. One of the major advantages of using the two products in unison is that the Fortigate Firewall is also a fully-fledged wireless controller, which is an absolute necessity especially on a network of this size.
After completing the campus design, LanDynamix also offered some help in the rollout process.
“There’s no doubt that today’s pupils, as digital natives, really rely on connectivity to study, not forgetting to conduct their social lives. It’s also a critical teaching platform. For us, therefore, a properly designed wireless network was a critical success factor for the school,” says Chris Breetvelt, IT manager at St Benedict’s. “We knew that the design is highly specialised, and were very happy to rely on LanDynamix’s expertise.”