Loyola High School Overhauls Network with High-Performance Switches

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Introduction

Loyola High School of Los Angeles, founded in 1865, is the oldest continuously-run educational institution in Southern California. As a Catholic college preparatory school conducted by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Loyola remains committed to providing a rigorous education to a diverse group of young men who leave the school prepared for lives of leadership and service to their community.

To realize their goal of achieving the best possible outcome for 1,200+ students, while helping 100+ faculty and staff gain uninterrupted access to critical educational resources, Loyola High School overhauled their network with high-performance switches from Extreme Networks.

Business Challenge

Loyola High School had a flat, fiber network with ancient switches. Challenged with a small staff and budget, the IT team convinced the school administration of the need to play catch up in terms of replacing all of their network switches to remain competitive with other schools in their area.

Because the existing infrastructure lacked the tools and vendor support to manage and monitor the network, the network staff of two experienced every issue imaginable. When the network malfunctioned, they were required to walk around the campus to figure out which switch was causing the problem. Loyola needed a new system that could be easily managed with limited personnel and that could give them visibility and control of all their network components – wired and wireless – from one central location.

With over 4,000 devices requiring access to a variety of cloud-based applications, it was critical that the network be upgraded with secure, reliable and high-performance equipment so that Loyola could deliver on their college-preparatory mission by providing fast, reliable access to critical applications for students, faculty and staff.

Extreme Networks Solution

Having experienced difficulty getting network support in the past, Loyola High School sought a new vendor capable of providing the best possible support. Loyola had researched the products offered by Brocade, Foundary, Cisco and HP/3Com and were left unimpressed with how their products performed. After their network consultant took them on a tour of a local college running Extreme Networks, Lauren B. Lampietti, Chief Technology Officer said, “I was sold as soon as I saw their Extreme network in action and I never looked elsewhere.” The top deciding factors were Extreme Networks support capabilities and their proven track record.

Loyola overhauled the whole network – upgraded the backbone, network devices and replaced the switches in 12 buildings – with an Extreme Networks solution consisting of high-capacity S- and K-Series switches at the core and C- and B-Series switches at the edge for fast, reliable network access. NetSight has improved security and reduced the network management complexity by providing operating details on all of the network equipment from one, easy-to-manage view.

The network team has been most pleased with the C5 10-gig switches which have been “rock solid” and able to handle anything they need and the S1 for the core which has been super- efficient, very fast and has had zero issues since implementation. “Availability has been perfect and there is zero-downtime. I can sleep at night now. I have no worries about how the devices on our network are running,” says Lampietti.

Results

Loyola High School is able to provide fast, reliable network access to enhance teaching and learning objectives for over 1,300 users using 4,000 devices throughout 12 buildings, while increasing productivity and reducing costs:

  • High-Performance, Reliable Switches – According to Kevin Behnke, Senior Network Engineer, “The usage and performance of the Extreme Networks switches has been spectacular. They are never tapped out.” Since going with Extreme Networks, availability has been a huge benefit.
    “The number of help desk tickets having to do with network issues virtually disappeared once the implementation was completed,” says Behnke.
  • Increased Productivity and Reduced Costs – The high- capacity Extreme Networks switches have provided cost and productivity savings for Loyola’s network team thanks to the efficiency of the low energy switches and the number of the devices that the switches can handle. With power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality, installation time has been reduced and built-in redundancy assures the high school that their mission-critical PA system, phones and Wi-Fi will always be up and running. Students, faculty and staff are able to easily get on the Internet and they no longer have to wait for the pages to load which enables them to be more productive.
  • Ease-of-Management – The control and visibility offered by NetSight has improved security and enabled the network team to be more productive. If the network team encounters a network anomaly, they no longer need to walk from building to building, they simply get the details and stats on the switches from the NetSight network management console. “Extreme products have freed up a lot of resources on my team. With one less thing we have to worry about we can focus our time and resources on other initiatives,” says Lampietti.

Loyola has nothing but praise for the Extreme Networks support team. “The support has been amazing, they are very thorough and always willing to go that extra mile and to help even on areas that aren’t related to the network gear,” says Behnke. When asked to compare the support they receive from Extreme Networks to other vendor’s support, Lampietti says, “It’s like comparing a high- performance Porsche to a Toyota with 100,000 miles on it. There is no contest.”

With their new high-performance Extreme network in place and meeting all of their needs, Loyola High School is free to shift their focus more toward educational technology professional development to ensure the best and brightest future for their students.

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