Dodgeland School District Paves the Way for Modern Learning with Network Solutions from D-Link
Feature-rich networking gear from D-Link extends K-12 wireless capacity, eliminates warranty costs and completes a full infrastructure upgrade for thousands less than competitive solutions.
Key D-Link Purchase Drivers
- Performance - D-Link’s reliable, full-featured business-class network switches and wireless solutions help Dodgeland School District extend their reach and expand their educational offerings.
- Value - Affordable pricing helps Dodgeland do more with less.
- Security - D-Link xStack Series switches provide excellent reliability through high-level network security and maximum uptime.
Dodgeland School District in rural Juneau, Wisconsin, has nearly 125 teachers and serves roughly 880 students from four local communities in one K-12 campus. To help ensure students have a rich educational experience, the school district offers four computer labs with up-to-date computers and projectors. Each classroom is also equipped with a Smartboard and has access to iPad and wireless laptop carts. The district is also moving toward a one-to-one initiative whereby every student has a mobile computer device to enhance their learning experience.
Vision: Upgrade the current network infrastructure to replace aging equipment and enable wireless efficiency
When Dodgeland’s school building was constructed 10 years ago, it was equipped with state-of-the-art network technology. Yet after a decade, the school’s technology needs have evolved, and its network infrastructure was due for a serious upgrade.
“Technology changes pretty quickly and within a relatively short time period, our network was no longer able to keep pace with many of the things we wanted to do here,” said Mark Wallesverd, Technology Director.
For one thing, Dodgeland’s limited wireless capacity was becoming an issue. The district had only one consumer-grade access point, which was barely enough to sustain the wireless cart it sat on, and Dodgeland wanted to implement a full wireless infrastructure that would expand its wireless capabilities.
Furthermore, Dodgeland’s existing network components were beginning to fail—and warranty coverage was getting expensive.
“Our old switches were failing rapidly and we were paying between $10,000 and $12,000 per year just on hardware assurance or warranty coverage,” said Brad Modaff, Technology Coordinator. “We started to realize that for that same money, we could pay for a whole new network upgrade in just a few years.”
The solution: Innovative chassis switches and access points that extend network connectivity while offering outstanding value
Talks of a major upgrade began, yet the high cost posed a challenge. When considering the cost of chassis and wireless options from HP and Cisco, Dodgeland realized that it needed to either spread this purchase over a few years or look at more cost-effective alternatives. That’s when Dodgeland’s local hardware partner suggested enterprise products from D-Link, which could provide all the switching and wireless features for about 30% less than the cost of HP, and nearly 50% less than the cost of Cisco.
With the help of an onsite visit by D-Link representatives and the hardware reseller, a complete network design was created and a quote was presented. Once Wallesverd and Modaff were convinced of the plan’s soundness, they proceeded to call every D-Link K-12 reference they were given. “Our D-Link rep spent some time describing the enterprise products available, and felt that they would definitely fit our needs,” said Wallesverd. “When we learned that there was such a significant price difference from the other vendors, we got excited and started our investigation. We contacted several school districts that had implemented D-Link solutions, and they were all very happy with their equipment. So when it came down to overall price, reliability and support, we made a recommendation to our School Board that we go with D-Link.”
Warranty costs were another consideration that weighed in D-Link’s favor.
“With the other vendors, warranty and ongoing support all came at an additional cost, which isn’t the case with D-Link,” added Modaff. “With D-Link, not only was the initial purchase price significantly less, so was the total cost of ownership. Since we no longer needed to spend $12,000 per year in warranty costs, that savings would have paid for our total network upgrade project in about four years.”
Dodgeland’s final solution included redundant DGS-6604 chassis in the core, with the new DGS- 3120 series switches and fiber links between them in a star topology, along with a DWS-4026/DWL-8600AP solution for the wireless.
D-Link in Action: High-performance managed switches provide enhanced network reliability, the latest security features and smart redundancy
Today, Dodgeland couldn’t be happier with its upgraded network—and the benefits it has received.
“In the modern world of education, more and more things are geared toward being connected online,” said Modaff. “Our old network and 10/100 switches simply would not have been able to handle the current demands. Now our network offers Gigabit performance and everything is fibered to each closet. Plus, we have built-in redundancy, so if our main core goes down, another one takes over in a matter of seconds.”
Of course, should there be a major challenge, both Modaff and Wallesverd are confident that D-Link expertise is just a phone call away.
“I feel very safe knowing that D-Link is always there to help us,” said Modaff. “We’ve had several instances already where we’ve had to call them and they work with us at no-charge to make sure that any situation gets resolved quickly and is done right. We don’t pay a single cent for warranty coverage, and yet we feel totally covered.”
Case in point: When Dodgeland ran into some serious challenges with its initial hardware vendor during configuration, D-Link jumped in to take over the stalled project and complete the implementation to Dodgeland’s satisfaction.
“I don’t know that every company would have done what D-Link did to proactively step in, pick up the ball and make sure that our networkwas completed quickly and fully functional,” said Wallesverd. “Today, we still count on D-Link when we’re in a pinch. I’ve been very pleased with the support we’ve received from D-Link—as well as their commitment to improving school environments.”
All things considered, Modaff and Wallesverd are absolutely convinced that D-Link was the right manufacturer partner for its network upgrade.
“In terms of reliability and performance, D-Link enterprise products can stand side-by-side with those from HP and Cisco,” said Modaff. “And yet when the total costs are about $25,000-$30,000 cheaper than those competitive solutions, it’s nearly impossible to pass up. And with today’s school budgets getting tighter and tighter, we had to do what we could to help make education in our district as successful as possible.”
“Sure, we needed to upgrade the network, but we also want to put Smartboards in classrooms and increase the size of our technology labs,” said Wallesverd. “If we can save money with our networking infrastructure, we can translate that savings into purchasing and upgrading other things that the students and teachers would use every day.”
Going forward, Dodgeland’s wireless network will most definitely expand. As the district continues moving toward a one-to-one teacher-laptop initiative, it’s making plans to quadruple its number of access points and expand its wireless capabilities to more efficiently support streaming video via YouTube and the addition of a few hundred laptops and iPads. Based on this district’s recent success, one can be sure that D-Link will be on that bid list.