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Case Study: Grace Christian School Supports Digital Learning with Zhone Technologies Passive Optical LAN Solution

FiberLAN provides reliable Internet access for students and teachers


OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital learning, connected devices, and cloud-based software and applications have become essential parts of classroom education at institutions ranging from elementary schools to universities. Grace Christian School, a K-12 school in Anchorage, Alaska, is no different. During the last three years, the school has purchased $100,000 of technology such as SMART Boards®, interactive projectors and Apple TV® modules as part of an initiative to prepare its students for secondary education. Yet, these tools are only as effective as the network they are connected to.


In a case study titled "Grace Christian School Supports Digital Learning with Deployment of Zhone Technologies Passive Optical LAN Solution," Dr. Terry Thornhill, Chief Technology Officer at Grace Christian School, articulates how Zhone Technologies FiberLAN was used to update the school's network infrastructure in order to provide reliable connectivity that allows teachers and students to utilize digital tools and technology every day. The case study is available for download at www.zhone.com/grace-christian/.

Built in 1980, the school was still utilizing its original Category 5 copper cabling, and was experiencing frequent lapses in its connectivity and a lack of bandwidth to support the school's increasing number of network-enabled devices. Thornhill knew the school needed to update its infrastructure to support the size of the campus and its long-term growth. It also required a network that would allow parents to have access to the campus' Intranet.

"We were using Category 5/5e cables, which didn't have the signal range we needed for our campus layout," said Dr. Thornhill. "We ran into so many issues - signal degradation, dropped connections, signal loss. The result was our teachers wouldn't use the technology for fear of losing valuable class time. In short, the signal latency was really affecting our students' learning."

DSI, Inc., a woman-owned communications infrastructure company in Anchorage, Alaska, recommended Zhone Technologies FiberLAN solution, a next-generation Optical LAN solution. Zhone Technologies and DSI collaborated to create a solution that provides reliable high-speed data, voice and video services for the school's 60 teachers and 600 students. The case study outlines the following aspects of the deployment:
    --  Using Zhone Technologies' access and aggregation platform equipment, DSI
        designed a high-speed, large-scale network that delivers triple-play
        services to more than 40 classrooms and offices.
    --  The reliability of the new network gave teachers confidence to use
        network-connected technology in their lessons.
    --  With the new network infrastructure, operating and maintenance issues
        were virtually eliminated, allowing Grace Christian's small IT team to
        focus their time elsewhere.

"The Zhone solution gave us connectivity everywhere - it's like being on a new campus," reports Dr. Thornhill. "I don't have to spend two or three hours of every day working on the infrastructure. I haven't had a single ONT fail and I don't have to deal with a fiber connection not working like it's supposed to. Teachers don't have their workstations dropping off the network. Everything works like it's supposed to, every time."


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