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Gloucestershire College

swcomms provides Gloucestershire College with point to point connectivity to rapidly solve their urgent need for a link between their two sites.

Gloucestershire College provides further and higher education through a wide range of education and training programmes, including A-levels and GCSEs, vocational qualifications, work-based learning, basic skills courses, higher education, short courses for business, part-time day and evening courses and English for overseas students. It is based on two sites in Gloucester and Cheltenham with the former site split between two buildings in the Gloucester Docks.

Gloucestershire College is based on a state-of-the-art site alongside the River Severn. However, additional space had been obtained on the fourth floor of a former warehouse on the other side of the river. The warehouse building was grade II listed and there was an iron swing bridge that dissected the distance between two buildings. The College needed to link the warehouse to the local area network (LAN) at the main college site and this needed to be achieved before the start of the academic year.

A traditional LAN extension service (LES) between the sites from a network carrier would take at least 65 working days to complete yet the start of term was less than four weeks away. The challenge was further complicated by the warehouse’s listed status and also the obstacle created by the bridge. Grade II listed buildings are not permitted to mount any object onto their external walls or roofs. Plus, the swing bridge would be raised and lowered throughout the day potentially blocking any wireless links that could be set up between the two sites.

Point to point link
’ wireless engineers carried out a detailed site survey to ascertain whether a point to point connection was possible. Their years’ of specialist experience really paid dividend as they tried to find a solution to the hefty challenge posed by the timescale, the grade II listing and the bridge. The survey revealed that by using an internal wall of the communications room in the warehouse to mount point to point equipment on, the wireless link could be beamed through a window that faced the main site at such at angle that it avoided any signal disruption from the movements of the swing bridge.

Motorola Spectra 600 devices were installed at both sites. The warehouse dish was installed inside the building and the main site device was mounted on a patio stand on a flat roof, which avoided having to puncture the roof itself. The 300Mbps half duplex link gave the College the bandwidth it required to connect the two sites efficiently.

Swfit deployment
Rapid lead times can be achieved with microwave point to point installations. Gloucestershire College had quotes from other communications companies to provide a LES but this would have taken up to three months to complete. The College placed its order with us on August 19 and the installation was completed on August 27. A microwave link can be achieved within five working days. The point to point microwave link was also far more cost-effective than a LES and did not require the local disruption caused by roadworks to lay extra cabling.

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