Donegal Schools go Wireless

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  • December 19, 2014

Donegal ETB partners with Agile Networks and Juniper to deliver a centralised wireless solution to 23 educational sites

Donegal Education and Training Board provide educational services to post-primary schools, colleges and adult education centres in Donegal County. With 15 schools, 8 adult education sites and 1,500 staff, Donegal ETB overlook the education of over 18,000 full and part-time students each year.

After a strategic review of the facilities provided by schools it was decided that a wireless network solution would greatly improve the quality of education being provided. Education is increasingly being delivered through devices such as laptops and tablets, advancing the learning experience of each student. By having a robust, secure wireless network these devices can run educational software and packages to aid in the delivery all of curriculums.

Throughout 2014, new state of the art wireless networks have been installed in each educational site in Donegal. A highly available, fully redundant network infrastructure providing multiple wireless networks that can be managed from a single site, makes them more efficient, easier to manage and more secure. This also gives the benefit of carrying out large-scale analysis of all the sites simultaneously. Taking the pressure off of individual schools and allowing Donegal ETB to make informed network decisions.

With almost 600 access points, the Juniper wireless network provides comprehensive coverage throughout each school/college. The solution provides advanced security for wireless users, assuring only those that have authorisation are allowed access to the network, protecting end users from misuse and inappropriate material.

“In the ETB sector we strive to provide a world-class education system to all our students. The inevitable drive towards mobile devices in schools across a county as large and geographically diverse as Donegal brought its own challenges. We realised early on that it was essential to build a reliable enterprise-standard wireless infrastructure, which would future proof our ICT investment in education” said Ciaran Cunningham, Head of IT, Donegal ETB.

Heavy emphasis has been placed on the benefits for students but staff and visitors are also seeing the advantages of having a readily available wireless network to access. Staff are now able to connect easily to the web on multiple devices, allowing them to be more efficient with their time and refocus their time to educating rather than the administration of work.

Other ETBs across Ireland, including Galway and Roscommon ETB and Longford Westmeath ETB, have also recognised the benefits of introducing a wireless network, designed to benefit both students and teachers. Ultimately, this new network is an important step in Donegal ETB’s vision to deliver ‘Excellence in a quality, learner centred education service’.

“The project with Agile Networks, which we rolled out over three phases, has been very positive for Donegal ETB. Agile’s approach ensured that planning was effective, communication was good and all work was carried out efficiently with little disruption to our staff and students. This project has allowed us to centralise our active directory, develop enhanced mobile device management policies and provide the backbone for the delivery of an enriched ICT-driven education service into the future. “ Ciaran Cunningham, Head of IT, Donegal ETB.