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Technology Helps School District Curtail Energy Costs - page 2 / 4





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Customer Case Study

“We want to be energy efficient in every aspect of our IT operations, including the network equipment that has made so much of our Go Green program possible.”

  • Matthew J. Frederickson, Director of Information Technology,Council Rock School District

When he joined the school district as IT director in 2003, Matt Frederickson compared the district's network infrastructure against best practices and recommended a complete redesign. As it turned out, the centralized control and management that the IT group achieved with the new network provided the foundation for the district's money- saving energy management program.


“I have six people on staff to support all of the schools and end-users, and we needed a WAN that was highly reliable. The existing network was too maintenance-intensive, and the equipment was not truly enterprise level,” says Frederickson. “One of the best practices I recommended was to standardize on a single vendor to achieve greater operational efficiencies and improve reliability.”

Frederickson had extensive experience with Cisco and asked the existing network vendor and Cisco to respond to a request for proposal (RFP) to replace the district's network infrastructure. “The quote from the existing vendor was three times higher than Cisco's proposal,” says Frederickson, “so our decision was straightforward from both a budget and capabilities perspective.”

In the first phase of the upgrade, a Cisco® Catalyst® 6509 Series Switch was installed at the core, and each high school was connected to a gigabyte fiber WAN with Catalyst 4506-E Series Switches. The elementary and middle schools were connected to the network over Catalyst 3750 and Catalyst 2948G switches.

With a reliable, high-performance WAN in place, the IT department expanded wireless in all of the schools, creating true wireless clouds in all buildings. “Deployment went quickly because the Catalyst switches in the wiring closets supported Power over Ethernet (PoE),” says Frederickson. “We did not incur additional time or money to install electrical drops for every access point.”

Recently, the IT department added a Wireless Services Module (WiSM) to the Catalyst 6509. The WiSM provides real-time communication between access points and wireless LAN controller. “We can control and manage all 211 wireless access points across the district, including the wireless security cameras,” says Frederickson. “Changing configurations remotely takes about 30 seconds.” The district also added 60 high performance Cisco Aironet 1250 Series 802.11n access points during their migration. “We’re extremely pleased with the high-speed 802.11n access points. We split them between two high schools as the capabilities make it ideal for our dynamic environment where there is a constant mix of old and new technology. We will eventually migrate all of our access points to this new standard,” says Frederickson.

In the next phase of the network upgrade, the IT group evaluated CRSD's telephone systems. All three middle schools had their own private branch exchanges (PBXs), and all were due for replacement. A telecommunications consultant had submitted a proposal to replace the end of life switches with new PBXs. But the IT team found that the PBXs placed a tremendous burden on administrative staff, and hampered communications between teachers and parents. Teachers did not have their own extensions, so the front office spent hours a day taking and relaying messages. In addition, a telephone technician had to come to the school each time an extension had to be moved, which was not only expensive but could take months.

When Frederickson compared the price of the new PBXs to installing Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) and IP phones, “it was more cost effective to replace the PBXs with IP telephony. In addition, with IP telephony, we could give every teacher a dedicated extension and voicemail. We can set up or change any extension

© 2009 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information.

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