Featured case study
Improving IT efficiency at Sheffield Hallam

03 January 2018

With a pedigree dating back to the early 19th century, Sheffield Hallam University has more than 31,000 students and more than 4,500 staff.

It is situated on two campuses comprising 12 major buildings in the city centre, including the Sheffield Institute of Education at Charles Street which was re-developed at a cost of £30m in 2014-15.

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Woldingham School gets data backup sorted

03 January 2018

Set within a 700-acre estate in the Surrey Hills, Woldingham School is a Catholic boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18, and was founded in 1842 by the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Its 200-acre main site is comprised of a mix of traditional and modern buildings for teaching, accommodation for more than 350 pupils, and more than 50 houses and flats for teaching and support staff.

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Manchester Metropolitan conquers IP demand

03 January 2018

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is said to be the fifth largest and second most applied-to in the UK.

It has around 37,000 students and 4,000 staff members including 40 in the IT infrastructure department. 

Like most universities, MMU has been challenged by the number of internet-connected devices students bring to the campus each day, expanding the amount of IP addresses under management.

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Beacons help school track and analyse pupils

15 March 2017

Bryanston School is set in 400 acres of Dorset countryside.

Bryanston School is set in 400 acres of Dorset countryside.

Set in 400 acres of Dorset countryside, Bryanston School has 670-plus pupils, mostly boarders at fees of £11,882 per term.

Alumni inaclude the adventurer Ben Fogle, actors Emilia and Freddie Fox, the painter Lucian Freud, and Rachel Johnson, writer and sister of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

In a 12-month project, 400 wireless access points – managed by two mobility controllers – were fitted throughout the campus, which comprises more than 30 buildings.

The technology is from Aruba (now owned by HP) and was installed by Pervasive Networks, which was bought by Capita for £17.5m in May 2015.

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Off-site backup saves school data from fire

15 March 2017

The Academy, Selsey, has 400 students and is part of The Kemnal Academies Trust.

In August last year, fire destroyed 80 per cent of the school, including the rack-mounted servers (outlined in red in the above picture) and the network.

Founded in 1963 as a comprehensive school and established as an academy in 2011, The Academy, Selsey, has 400 students and is part of The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT).

It had been using a traditional tape-based method to backup its 1TB of student data.

IT manager Daniel Sapseid says this would frequently take two days: “I would often leave the backup process to complete over the weekend and then would take the tapes home with me. Looking back, I see it wasn’t the most efficient way to store critical student data as a large part of my time was spent ensuring the backups had been completed in the first place.”

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Cannon-proof walls no barrier to Wi-Fi

15 March 2017

Portsmouth Grammar School is based in a former army barracks.

Portsmouth Grammar School is based in a former army barracks.

Founded in 1732 by the city’s mayor, Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS), has just over 1,000 pupils from nursery to sixth form and is based in a former army barracks. It has been fully co-educational since girls were admitted in 1991.

The school encourages pupils to work from their own tablets, smartphones and other devices within the classrooms. However, while its building’s 1.5 metre-thick flint-filled walls were once ideal for withstanding enemy artillery attacks, they also proved good at blocking radio signals, making Wi-Fi access across the campus a major challenge.

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Education charity saves with move to the cloud

16 October 2016

Teach First, a charity working to tackle educational inequality in England and Wales, has 11 offices and 650 staff. 

With the decision to move its London HQ from the South Bank to North Greenwich, it sought to replace the different conventional phone systems at each of its offices with a single UC platform that would support Skype for Business. And it had to integrate with Microsoft products, particularly as the charity is a dedicated user of Office 365.

Teach First discussed its needs with VIA, part of Smart Hosted Solutions, based in Nottingham, which suggested its cloud-based product, VIA Voice. The charity visited Redbridge College to see VIA Voice in use and, after a month-long trial at its Birmingham office, rolled out VIA Voice across all of its offices.

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King’s College claims a world first

26 June 2015

pic: kings college somerset house

Around the start of the year, King's College London had the idea of rebranding itself as simply King's London. But instead of dropping the word "college", the university instead dropped the whole idea of changing its name.

But while superficial name changes can be debated, what cannot be avoided is the need to stay up-to-date with the technology of the day, and – if possible – stay ahead of the game.

And in-keeping with its global profile, King's College London claims to have established the first "UK and world collaborative research data centre". The aim is "to drive research and maintain the UK as a global research powerhouse", says the university. The university worked with Infinity SDN to develop the centre.

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Birmingham City gets network fit for students

30 May 2014

Birmingham City University has completed a root and branch revamp of its IT and network infrastructure to get it fit to compete for students in the next decade.

The overhaul, conducted by systems integrator Logicalis, includes the design and deployment of two on-site data centres, wired and wireless networks for employees and students, and the rollout of Cisco Unified Communications Manager for the 4,000 staff.

The project is part of a £180m investment in new facilities to support innovation and evolving service expectations from all users. Shaun Buffery, the university’s associate director for converged infrastructure, says: “Nowadays, you’re not only competing on the level of education students will receive, but also facilities and services. This new infrastructure will adapt to innovation in student technology and teaching resources, and also enable staff to be more collaborative with one another and with the students.

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Academy watches net grow with PRTG network monitor

30 May 2014

Oxford Spires Academy (OSA) opened in 2011 to primarily serve the east of the city, and now has 800 pupils aged 7-14, and employs116 staff. A major hardware upgrade revealed the limitations of the network monitoring tool it was using. “As our infrastructure became larger and more sophisticated, it was increasingly hard to keep a handle on exactly what was going on in the network,” says James Preston, OSA’s ICT network manager. “In addition to nine brand new IT labs, we have been gradually equipping all of the classrooms with smart boards and ensuring that all the teachers have mobile access to our ICT services through a tablet or a laptop. In addition, the school was adding new multifunction printers and IP-enabled phones. OSA found that its existing network monitor didn’t have the features needed to do the job with the new systems. Preston says he’d heard about Paessler’s PRTG and decided to investigate it.

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