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Northumberland College was established in 1957 in Ashington, Northumberland to provide further education around Arts, Engineering and Technology for students of ages 16 to 19 and adult courses in partnership with Northumbria University, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sunderland. Many of the 7,000 students are spread across two main campus buildings in Ashington and at the picturesque rural setting of Kirkley Hall near Ponteland, as well as two other locations.
The College has continued to perform well over the past twelve months following the excellent Ofsted inspection result in 2013 where it was awarded an overall Grade 2 for achieving a ‘Good’ status in every area. The College was also rated 4th in the country overall, for long course provision last year and continues to be well above the national average for all of its outcomes in the sector.
Part of the Northumberland College’s £10 million capital improvement programme which began in 2013 ICT involved addressing a key challenge. Suffering from a lack of investment in the IT infrastructure for at least eight years it wanted to completely transform its ICT infrastructure including the Core and Edge Networks. It also wanted to deliver a strong resilient Wi-fi Network across both the Ashington and Kirkley campuses with a special focus on delivering external Wi-fi at Kirkley, where landbased education is delivered around Zoological and Veterinary courses.
Huawei initially rebuilt the College’s ICT network starting with a 40GE Core using S9700 Core Switches and S5700 POE to deliver 10GE to Server clusters and 1GE as standard to the Edge switches. POE is also used to deliver the IP Telephony services for 400 clients with the U1960 UC platform.
Finally, in parallel with new refurbishment work, Huawei delivered a cross-campus Wi-fi Network using the Access controller 6605 and a mixture of Access points AP5010DN and AP6610DN for external coverage. Management for the overall solution was delivered using Huawei policy centre providing terminal security services for BYOD and eSight NMS platform to manage and orchestrate the overall campus network.
With the dramatic increase in devices being used by students for education and social media, a BYOD platform was provided to help control the connection and management of those devices and also to replace the aging Nortel PBX with a new IPT UC platform with 400 users across both campuses. The overall solution is managed by Huawei eSight NMS software.
Andrew Jones, Northumberland College ICT Manager, comments: “the new Huawei platform has transformed our student experience across all of our campuses. The solutions have been delivered to budget and on time for this year’s new term. Our students now have connectivity whenever and where ever they are. Even on the farm and Zoo at Kirkley!
“We look forward to further developing our truly end-to-end ICT platform with Huawei and will be considering VDI next to replace our desktop PC estate in 2015.”