Samuel Whitbread Academy - Gigabit backbone with 38 edge switches

Wireless Networking


Samuel Whitbread Academy is a successful mixed secondary school which has high expectations concerning the way its students work. Its teaching ethos encourages and rewards positive attitudes, and staff aim to help students become mature and independent learners.


The school’s network infrastructure had evolved over many years. It was creaking under its workload as it reached capacity, and reliability had become an issue.

“The old network would not cope with VoIP and could not deliver a wireless service. In addition, it’s no secret that maintaining legacy networks eats into available resources.

“With an ambitious vision which requires us to equip students with their own wireless devices, we simply had to replace the network’s backbone,” commented Chris Earp, BEMAT ICT Strategic Operations Manager at the Samuel Whitbread Academy.

The legacy network was daisy-chained rather than directly connected to its core, which severely limited performance. In one area there were around 250 users effectively sharing a 1G link connecting the backbone to the core. This was made worse by an unreliable switch which inhibited service continuity.

The school needed a replacement backbone installed over the summer break, so the requirement was put out to tender.


Lynx Networks has a strong track record within education and won the tender. As networking technology progresses, Lynx specialists work in partnership with schools, upgrading their networks, IT and telephony to meet their immediate and future needs.

A substantial 10G backbone was installed during the school holidays. It had 38 edge switches from HP which provided exceptional value for money without compromising on specifications.

Power over Ethernet meant that a wireless solution could be installed as the school needed it or when the budget became available, and VLANs were configured to help network traffic flows.

“We always work with school holidays and budgetary arrangements. All our team aim to deliver solutions which future-proof the schools by enabling the students to enjoy adopting new technology and optimise their learning.

“With budgets often under government control, we frequently deliver new technology to schools in phases, as they can afford it. The school staff who we work with have been doing a great job of maintaining the morale of a young inquisitive community that enjoys using up-to-date technology,” explained Alan Bullen, Managing Director of Lynx Networks.


“Lynx Networks are a very professional company and their team of technical specialists really understand what we need. Network maintenance levels have fallen and reliability is no longer an issue. There are no bottlenecks within the new network although we intend to upgrade a few aging servers so students can experience the infrastructure’s optimal performance levels throughout the school,” concluded Chris.