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Stonington Public Schools Continues to Reap Benefits from a Network Built for Education

Lisa Yeaton Specialist, Content Marketing Published 15 Mar 2019

Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Jason Jones, Stonington Public Schools Director of Technology at Extreme NOW NYC. We talked about his favorite parts of Extreme NOW, and how the school district is doing today, post-Extreme implementation.

Stonington Public Schools is a K-12 public school district in Southeastern Connecticut. Jason’s role is focused on overseeing the management of educational technologies, as well as business technologies for the school district. Keep reading to see his one-on-one video with our team!

Q: Can you tell us about your experiences here at the Extreme NOW, and what your favorite part was?

A: The Extreme NOW event for me today has been a great learning experience. I don’t generally get a lot of time out of the office, so coming to events like this gives me the opportunity to network with peers and communicate with my Extreme reps. I’ve been able to find out about some new technologies that I can take advantage of and take away from today that are going to help me in my organization and alleviate some of the workloads for myself and my team, so that’s a huge plus.

Also, I really enjoyed the experience of the customer panel. I think it gave me a perspective of seeing other organization’s challenges, and I’m realizing that even as a small market customer, we share a lot of the same obstacles.

A School District on the Hunt for a Cost-Effective, Scalable, and Usable Network

After we chatted about Jason’s experience at Extreme NOW, we asked a few questions about what they were looking for as a district when they were seeking a network upgrade, as well as how things are going now, and what their network might look like in the future.

 

District Fast Facts

  • 2,100 students
  • 420 employees
  • Facilities: one high school, two middle schools, three elementary schools, and one central office
  • IT team: director of technology, help desk supervisor, school techs

The IT team at Stonington is highly skilled, but also lean. “We share a lot of responsibilities,” Jason said. “If we’re short on staff and they need an extra set of hands for help desk tickets, I’ll jump in myself!”

When they set out to resolve their networking challenges, they were facing a number of obstacles. First, the growing number of users and devices were creating the need for greater bandwidth in the environment. Consequently, they needed greater wireless accessibility due to limited capacity in the existing network. “We also wanted to upgrade the wireless and switching environment,” he explained.

Stonington engaged several vendors in search of help with their networking project and ultimately decided on Extreme. The team felt Extreme was the most cost-effective while still allowing them to scale and make informed decisions without the significant upfront cost.

“Extreme gave us the ability to roll out a usable network right away.” – Jason Jones, Director of Technology, Stonington Public Schools

Overcoming Business and Technology Challenges District-Wide with Extreme Solutions

Stonington was looking to resolve a number of obstacles with the help of a better network. First, the wireless demand for the number of devices that needed to connect to the network was growing. They needed to be able to deliver internet-based applications across the wide area network. Second, opening the network to a multitude of devices was raising security concerns. “We had security challenges,” Jason explained. “Extreme Analytics gave us a single pane of glass so we could see what was going on in the network and be able to fingerprint applications that students and staff were using.”

Extreme Products and Services Used:

Extreme Control

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  • Customize onboarding of guests and IoT devices easy and secure with predefined templates for non-IT personnel
  • Enables consistent policy roll-out across the entire network
  • Enhances security with agent-based and agentless assessment option

Extreme Management Center

  • Alerts IT to issues based on set thresholds and clears them once they’re solved
  • Manages devices across vendors for a complete picture of the heterogeneous network

ExtremeAnalytics

  • Shows what applications are running on your network sends alerts for performance issues and analyzes flows with data capture
  • Prevents service disruptions with pro-active performance alerts and determines the root cause

ExtremeMobility

ExtremeSwitching, including S-Series modular core switches, B-Series edge switches, 7100-Series virtualization switches

Stonington also enlists the help of Extreme Professional Services to onboard applications, new products, and new switching. “We also lean on them every six months or so to come in and do a health check. It helps out tremendously and takes some of the burdens off of us internally,” Jason said.

Transforming School District Operations with a Strong Vendor Relationship and a Network Built for Education

“The biggest thing our Extreme environment gives us is the overall comfort of delivering, and not limiting ourselves, in the applications, we deliver to the end user. We’ve been able to expand to a multitude of clients.” – Jason Jones, Director of Technology, Stonington Public Schools

Since moving to Extreme, Stonington has enjoyed a number of benefits. Jason mentioned they’ve been able to onboard a one-to-one Chromebook program to students in their middle and elementary schools. Further, the number of clients have increased tenfold over the last 4-5 years, and they’re happy to have the necessary network backbone in place to handle the throughput. Today, Stonington is able to fully support the educational technology needs of both students and faculty, and particularly enjoy the relationship they’ve built with Extreme, from account reps to the engineers in GTAC.

They plan to continue expanding and strengthening their wireless offering in the future. For now, Stonington is focused on taking advantage of new network technologies that allow them to expedite delivering services to the end user.

Want more details on Stonington Public Schools’ quest to build a better network? Check out the case study.

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