The Downs School

The Downs School is a comprehensive secondary school for 1,200 students in the village of Compton, Berkshire.

The issue:
The Downs School had been using a blend of wireless networks deployed by several different providers throughout the school including its sports and arts facilities.

Their age meant the access points were incompatible with newer devices, which meant these devices would not be working at optimum efficiency while on the school network. The school needed a replacement Wi-Fi 6 solution to overcome this issue.


The Downs School

The solution:
We offered the school two solutions from two different manufacturers so they would have a choice but recommended a Cisco Meraki solution as the best fit for their needs.

We installed a blend of 32 Cisco Meraki MR 36, 46 and 56 access points depending on expected density of devices in each area. The aim was to eliminate any dead spots or frustratingly slow connectivity to support seamless teaching and learning wherever staff and students are working in the school.

These access points provide more coverage and capacity than the legacy hardware, so we could replace them on a like for like basis using the existing CAT5 cabling, but still offer an improved service to cope the increased use of devices.

The Wi-Fi 6 standards inherent to these access points means the performance of modern devices, such as Chromebooks and iPads, are not held back by an ageing wireless network.

The cloud portal that accompanies this solution gives the school’s IT department complete visibility and management control of the network. They can easily see if there are any issues with the access points and can monitor and track all devices using the network. They can offer secure guest access too.

The IT team can also use the portal to report on and/or filter the content devices are accessing to complement the firewalling and anti-virus security built into the access points. This means the use of more productive apps are prioritised while recreational traffic can be restricted or blocked.

We were able to offer this solution with an 11-year licence for each access point, which means they will receive firmware updates at cloud level and are supported by Cisco Meraki throughout that time. This means the school will not need to think about upgrading their wireless network until the 11 years are up, which is considerably longer than the industry standard of five to seven years.

We rolled out a pandemic-friendly, remote deployment with the access points configured by our engineers in our workshops before being transported to the school for the IT staff to install. The Downs School continues to benefit from our expertise through our support desk, who are on hand to help with an issue should any occur.


The Downs School

The testimonial:

“As a large school with lots of facilities, Wi-Fi is very important to our students, staff and guests. By overhauling the entire network with a new Wi-Fi 6 solution, we no longer have to worry about dead spots and slow speeds."

“The Cisco Meraki product also gives us the in-house visibility and management we need. Thanks swcomms for all your support during this project and beyond.”

Trevor Ockwell, IT Manager

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