Community Colleges Are Able To Do More With Less: Lessons from Halifax and Southern Union State Community Colleges

March 10, 2017 Bob Nilsson

Part 2: The Extreme Community College Series

“When I had a problem years ago, I reached out to GTAC and was amazed at the support I got, it was outstanding.” 
– Jerry Thompson, Network Manager, Halifax Community College

In part 1 of our Community College Series, Alabama Southern Community College and College of the Canyons shared how they were able to improve their learning environments with reliable and easily-managed wireless and wired networks by Extreme Networks. Although the colleges were challenged by limited budgets and staff, we worked side-by-side with their IT departments to upgrade both campuses with personalized, pervasive networks that now help them meet the individual needs of every student.

Students today expect dependable wireless connectivity across the college campus at all times. Outdated technology and unpredictable connections do a disservice to students who rely on the network to complete assignments on time. Network downtime is no longer an option, and schools are replacing outdated technology with reliable solutions at a faster rate than ever before.

In addition to partnering with Alabama Southern Community College and College of the Canyons, Extreme has worked with Halifax Community College and Southern Union State Community College to replace outdated wireless and switching technology with our state-of-the art solutions.  

Halifax Community College

Based in North Carolina, Halifax Community College serves 1,500 students and 150 full-time faculty members. With eight buildings to manage and only four people in their IT department, Halifax needed an easy-to-manage switching platform to make network issues a thing of the past. After careful evaluation, Halifax had Extreme replace their existing Cisco switches with AB, and C-Series stackable ExtremeSwitches in just six hours. Halifax Community College’s network manager, Jerry Thompson, praised the “simplicity and reliability of Extreme’s solutions,” as Halifax hasn’t experienced any network outages since the implementation of our hardware.

"Leveraging Extreme Networks' superior customer support services and switch product line, I've been able to easily manage network activity independently for over 1,500 students. We can't afford network downtime and the simplicity and reliability of Extreme's solutions has eliminated network issues for the college. With Extreme, we know the network will always work."
--  Jerry Thompson, Network Manager, Halifax Community College

Southern Union State Community College

Located in Wadley, Alabama, Southern Union State Community College is an educational hub for 5,000 students and 450 employees. Across four campuses and 25 buildings, Southern Union needed a faster network to address the rapidly growing number of devices used on campus. With five technicians working in the IT department, the school searched for a solution provider that could offer reliable equipment manageable by a small team of experts. Southern Union’s previous switches were unmanaged, and its network infrastructure was experiencing frequent outages. To keep this legacy network running, the IT staff was forced to work around the clock fixing outages and attempting to accommodate dozens of students with access points (APs) originally intended for only 5-10 users.

Extreme outfitted Southern Union with high-density Wi-Fi to alleviate network outages. The network included 90 additional indoor APs, along with 59 switches to accommodate the increased number of student devices across the 750,000 square-foot campus. Southern Union students noticed improvements immediately, as they could reliably stream content in their residence halls and complete testing in Southern Union’s Health Sciences department - something that is critical to student success. Prior to installing the new Extreme Networks wireless solution throughout the campus, professors had been forced to cancel classes due to frequent network outages. 

"The installation of ExtremeWireless™ has made the network faster, allowing access anywhere at any time across our four campuses. This has satisfied the needs of students and faculty, especially in Southern Union's Health Sciences department where testing is critical for the students' success. With Extreme Networks, the wireless network is no longer a hassle and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them."
-- Cheryl Jordan, Director of MIS, Southern Union State Community College

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