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Silver Valley Unified School District serves approximately 2,200 K-12 students across 3,300 square miles in California’s high desert region. Because of the district’s vast coverage area, six of its seven schools are connected over a microwave WAN.
In the past, Silver Valley’s IT team had accumulated a myriad of different systems— Windows NT4, Linux, and Mac servers; Novell servers; multiple Extreme Networks switches; HP equipment; and an early Wi-Fi network. Most of the systems were almost a decade old, and maintaining even basic support agreements cost the district up to $60,000 a year. Today’s online coursework, video demands, and wireless bandwidth requirements had pushed the legacy networks to their limits. The district’s WAN links only supported 15 to 20 Mbps of bandwidth to each school. Limited bandwidth combined with poor wireless coverage often resulted in dropped connections and prevented students from using the wireless network, which frustrated teachers and students.
“We clearly needed more bandwidth,” said Robert Saffel, Director of Technology Services for Silver Valley Unified School District. “We knew that redesigning the network was going to require significant cost and effort. But we had to do it.”