Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Area School District needed help with their wireless network. As is typical, the district was required to issue an RFP to multiple wireless equipment and service companies. But often, public RFPs can be somewhat broad in defining the requirements of a particular project, leaving the bidders a bit in the dark as they formulate their proposals. So, while they’ll do their best to come up with a righteous bid that will win them the business, it can often be just a guesstimate, both in terms of price and what it will take to do the job exactly right. That’s where Velaspan came in to provide the district with the wireless expertise to make sure they were getting what they needed – and then some.
Velaspan has a relationship with the district. In fact, three of our five founding partners graduated from the same Bethlehem area high school, so we were thrilled and honored to help with this project. Here’s how it went.
The district asked us to evaluate the state of their entire network – every school and facility – including both the wireless and wired aspects. But since “wired” isn’t our core competency, we engaged one of our trusted partners, Weidenhammer – experts in a wide range of network technologies – to work with us on this district-wide comprehensive system evaluation. Their involvement allowed Velaspan to focus in on the Wireless network.
What We Discovered
The results of the evaluation identified a number of shortcomings in the district’s wireless network. Quite simply, the system wasn’t built to meet their actual needs. And since virtually every person who accesses the district’s network – from teachers, to students, to administrators, you name it – connects wirelessly, network weaknesses can lead to less than pleasant user experiences.
But the most critical network weakness issue the district faced was their need to connect large numbers of students, in concentrated areas, carrying out activities such as state mandated standardized tests on a wireless network that simply wasn’t up to the task! That’s a situation far more serious than unpleasant user experiences.
Based on our findings, the district engaged our services and expertise to design a system that would support all of their network needs. In order to design the system, we first needed to meet with personnel at all levels – teachers, principals, administrators – at every elementary, middle and high school in the district, to gain a thorough understanding of what was needed to make the network work for everyone.
Once we determined what the district as a whole wanted to accomplish, we identified all of the areas of the network that weren’t up to snuff. We then designed a network that would meet their business requirements, technical requirements, and system requirements. In short, we designed the optimum network for the district, on all levels.
The district did something relatively uncommon in the public school world. They hired us to do a thorough site survey – a relatively small investment in a crucial phase that enables us to identify the exact number of access point devices needed, where they had to be located, along with the precise cabling requirements.
Upon completion of the site survey, we provided a comprehensive, detailed document that put the district in the driver’s seat. This documentation became their master plan for network success. We assisted the district in formulating their RFP, enabling them to receive actual price quotes – and ensure that all equipment, installation and design requirements would be met.
Because of the thoroughness and accuracy of our planning work, the district asked Velaspan to oversee the actual deployment of the system. We’be begun working with the installation teams to ensure they completely understand how the installation will be executed, and spot-check their installation along the way, heading off problems before they arise. As each school installation is complete, we’ll see it come online, do the necessary basic configuration, and validate the network. In other words, Velaspan will ultimately sign off that each building has been delivered.
Bethlehem Area School District will get the network they truly needed – at the best price. Many of the vendors participating in the RFP were complimentary about how smooth and easy the bidding process went. And we were excited beyond belief to help our alma mater achieve network success.
If you would like more information about how Velaspan can help you have the highest performing, most reliable, secure, and manageable network connectivity, take the solutions first step. Because individualized solutions are all we do.
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