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Performance Networks / Case Studies / Solihull Sixth Form College

Solihull Sixth Form College

Sixth Form College WiFi

Solihull Sixth Form College is a specialist provider of A level, BTEC and CACHE education to 16-19 year olds from Solihull and Birmingham.

The challenge

Solihull Sixth Form College is a specialist provider of A level, BTEC and CACHE education to 16-19 year olds from Solihull and Birmingham. With more than 40 subjects on offer, the College offers one of the widest range of courses in the region catering for over 2,500 students and staff.

The college were experiencing major issues with their WiFi network, after several attempts by the existing provider to remedy the network. A new IT Manager joined the college and contacted Performance Networks for specialist advice.

Both students and staff were experiencing drop outs and performance issues across the WiFi network using a variety of devices across all buildings and floors.

The hardware used onsite was enterprise grade dual-band Dell (Aruba) Access Points (APs), with onsite controller.

Our solution

Performance Networks DBS checked engineers performed a complete onsite WiFi fault finding survey using a combination of Ekahau WiFi Site Survey/Spectrum Analysis & Wireshark captures to understand the current network and identify what was causing the issues.

What did the survey show?

The survey highlighted many areas of the WiFi network which we’re underperforming, there were too few Access Points and converge was patchy, with heavy congestion on the 2.4 GHz band along with issues with devices roaming between AP’s and suboptimal placement and mounting orientation. Our engineers also witnessed low data rates and too many client devices using the 2.4GHz band.

A WiFi fault find report was then drawn up detailing recommendations to fully optimise the network and eradicate user issues.

The result

Based on the recommendation report, we returned to site to undertake the optimisation works.

The college were working to specified budgets, meaning re-purposing existing equipment wherever possible to provide the best value. This involved moving external AP’s that weren’t being used effectively into buildings to reduce the amount of new AP’s required.

The first step was to reposition the AP’s and install the new additional ones to provide coverage as per our design survey. This involved working at height using specialist equipment in specified time windows.

Once the AP’s had been moved and installed to improve the coverage, the works then moved to the controller to change the configuration of the network to remedy the other issues identified.

Following the optimisation works the WiFi network was then resurveyed to provide the college with a verification report which detailed the networks performance metrics.

The college now have a WiFi network which provides a fast, reliable service to students and staff ensuring the fault free delivery of digital education resources.

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