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Hills Educational Foundation

Hills Educational Foundation


  • Australian school deploys complete Meraki solution to replace legacy network
  • Deployment in indoor and outdoor spaces across 660 acre campus within one week
  • Cloud dashboard allows simple management of guest network and security settings

First established in 1992, Hills International Foundation incorporates Hills International College, Hills Language College, and Hills Golf Academy on a semi-rural 660 acre campus situated 40 km from Brisbane, Queensland. With 650 students enrolled across 13 year levels from Prep to Year 12, Hills International Foundation embraces research-based principles, as well as interactive and collaborative technologies to cater to the 21st century learner.

Original Networking Challenges

  • Needed a network to support move to 1:1 iPad device policy in 12 months
  • Lack of network coverage and performance across the campus to meet student and staff connectivity needs
  • De-centralized network management was challenging for the IT manager as the school is geographically dispersed and there was no remote access to devices

Why Cisco Meraki

  • Meraki selected over several competing technologies due to its solid network offering of indoor and outdoor MR access points (APs), switches, and security appliance
  • Unified network access from one dashboard provides visibility into all Meraki gear, security policy and Systems Manager, Meraki’s MDM solution
  • Ease of management lowers ongoing support costs and reduces the time spent managing the network

The Deployment

  • 75 APs, 26 MS220 switches, 4 MS320 switches, and an MX400 security appliance installed in just 7 days by IT partner, Cloudifi
  • Hardware preconfigured remotely in dashboard prior to physical installation in accordance with the design document, which was completed in advance
  • Meraki network was designed from the ground up to completely replace the existing multi-vendor legacy network
  • The design provided for a new 10Gig fiber backbone and redundant aggregated uplinks between switches and utilized 802.11ac capable MR34 APs in all classroom buildings
  • MR66 APs provided outdoor coverage with over 100m range on the golf course using omni-directional antennas
  • MX400 integrated with Active Directory using Radius and LDAP to control authentication and security policy for different user groups
Meraki was the logical choice to use whether that was in the classrooms, dormitories, guest houses, outdoor areas, or on the golf greens. Craig Montgomery, IT Manager of Hills Educational Foundation



  • Network is continuously scanned for intrusions with Sourcefire, which is integrated into the dashboard and the robust content management features protect the students
  • Real-time client and application usage information available to Hills and Cloudifi to assess network performance
  • Lower ongoing support costs thanks to built-in remote troubleshooting tools such as packet capture and cable testing