€3.2m project to connect 3,500 students, teachers

24 Mar 2003

A €3.2m public private partnership (PPP) project to provide voice and data connectivity to more than 3,500 secondary school students and teachers throughout Ireland has just been completed by 3Com and Ardmore Technologies.

The advanced IT and communications network will benefit five schools – Ballincollig and Dunmanway in Cork, Clones in Monaghan, Shannon in Clare and Tubbercurry in Sligo.

3Com and Ardmore were contracted as part of a managed service offered by Jarvis-MPC Systems to the five schools as part of a PPP.

The voice and data network will connect more than 3,500 students and teachers over a gigabit backbone in each school. Jarvis won the first educational pilot PPP project contract for the Department of Education and Science to provide the five post-primary schools with state-of-the-art networks and servers.

According to 3Com Ireland’s country manager Ray O’Connor, the project was the largest multi-site IP (internet protocol) telephony installation in Ireland to date. “The teachers and pupils have moved on from a minimal IT infrastructure to one of the most advanced school IT systems in the country. The schools will now benefit from a converged IT and telephone network,” he said.

Under the project each school was given a gigabit backbone, four servers connected by gigabit ethernet to the core switches, a 3Com Superstack 3NBX (network branch exchange) communications system and category 5 cabling with network points in each room. As well as this, each school would have received between 200 and 450 computers depending on their size.

John Curtin of Ardmore said: “The basic thing is it frees up the teachers to teach, in that the management of the school and people covering facilities furniture and buildings, all of that, is out of the management of the school and Jarvis looks after the whole thing. On our side we provided the IT equipment and computers, and the switching and phone systems are the latest NBX quality switching.”

By John Kennedy