The New School

I have been working with Jon, Steve, and Vaden from The New School for about a year now. The New School isĀ  a private non-profit school for PreSchool through 7th grade. They have been underfunded in the technology infrastructure area for sometime. While the school seeks to have a 1:1 ratio of computers to students, The New School’s switching fabric simply couldn’t keep up. They have multiple computer labs as well as entire carts full of iPads for student use. But something needed to change. The administration took the proper steps to secure funding for this large undertaking. Rather than blow it all on some big name vendors (you know who they are) we chose to buy excellent hardware and install it ourselves. Our main areas were:

  • WAN – with increasing enrollment and use of web based teaching a fat pipe is needed
  • LAN – implement multiple VLANs to carve up traffic, has to be fast and manageable
  • Wireless – there are TONS of wireless devices (iphones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs). This was very important since everything is mobile

Last August I began putting together a proposal. You can view it here. This proposal addresses:

  • WAN – Upgrade to a dual wan which includes 2 bonded T1 lines from New Roads Telecom as well as Cox Business Internet 30/5
  • Network closet cleanup
    Modular Patch Panel
    Fiber Boxes
    Cat 5e jumpers
  • Switches
    5 HP Procurve 2910al J9146A#ABA – Gigabit POE
    2 HP Procurve 8 Port Gigabit with 2 Fiber uplinks
  • New Fiber Runs
  • Wireless AP
    Ubiquiti UniFi Enterprise Access Points (more)

We have all hardware in place now. Basic configuration was straight-forward. However we are looking forward to VLAN routing, wireless RADIUS authentication, and WAN load balancing.

Some of our sore points were:

  • Untangle Firewall rules (post)
  • Ubiquiti remote reset using SSH (post)
  • Very delicate fiber leads into the rack-mount fiber box (sweating bullets)
  • Difficult fiber pull through a large concrete wall with an even larger steel beam behind it

All in all it has been and continues to be a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot of things to implement at I am also gaining a lot of confidence in open-source solutions for enterprise level quality.

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