Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Extreme Networks Suggest Four Fast Methods To Boost Education Network Efficiency

As students and teachers enjoy a needed summer break, the next six weeks is the time for network administrators to revitalise their network infrastructure by fine-tuning security policy, boosting network performance and creating energy efficient network. Extreme Networks details four simple tips to improve the network within K-12 school districts and college campus environments.

Optimised network connectivity supports advanced lesson plans that integrate data, voice and video content over a secure, high-performance network. The ability to achieve value with existing network infrastructure saves time and resources while greatly improving the educational experience of students and staff.

1. Review Security and Network Policy:
With the realisation that today’s students and staff are relying more on life-streaming blogging applications such as Twitter and Facebook, carrying iPhones, BlackBerries and traditional laptops that connect to Ethernet networks over 802.11 Wi-Fi, the network is the backbone of these institutions. By implementing the right settings, students’ traffic and behaviour remain in control of the network administrator.

Implementing network policies, schools can better track and log reporting for devices and users by username and MAC/IP address or separate sensitive information from the Internet with the use of dynamic policy enforcement and Virtual LANs (VLANs); or even remove offline sensitive data. With these steps, the potential chaos from both managed and unmanaged devices and user activities on the network can be reduced while essential online educational activities thrive.

2. Ramp-Up Quality of Service
Converged networks offer increased levels of traffic, from voice, video and data coming through the network. By leveraging centralised network management and network automation via scripting to replicate one class of settings across all network switches in one stroke, IT administrators can truly increase operational efficiency of deployment and configuration changes.

For example, Extreme Networks offers the “QoSConfig” script, via the Widget Central website, is used for configuring QoS settings across multiple sets of Ethernet switches. Quality of service settings per network port is enabled by establishing profiles with specific optimisations settings to deliver an intended level of network service.

3. Powering Up and Down for Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a growing theme on school campuses and the network is no different. Find network switches with intelligent settings for powering down select ports so that connected IP handsets, IP cameras and similar devices power down completely during off hours or during summer break.

4. Establish Redundancy
Lesson plans are incorporating digital presentation displays, Internet connected white boards among other Web-based applications. This means that network availability is essential. To ensure that classes go on without a hitch, establish redundant network switches and connections, as well as protecting fiber links with failover protocols. High performance Ethernet edge switches should provide dual homed uplinks that allow for connections to a redundant aggregation or core layer. Additionally, network resiliency protocols, such as EAPS (RFC #3619), should be supported to deliver sub 50 millisecond failover should a fiber cable be cut or interrupted. This way, communications and data, as well as class lessons, continue effortlessly.

To learn more about Extreme Networks high performance network solutions for education, visit:
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