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Onze Lieve Vrouwecollege

Onze Lieve Vrouwecollege

Highlights

  • School providing primary and secondary education in Antwerp, Belgium
  • Deployed Meraki APs, security appliances, Layer 3 switch, and MDM
  • Unified, centralised dashboard makes management simple for small IT team

Providing primary and secondary education, Onze Lieve Vrouwecollege’s commitment to identify and develop the strengths of its students has remained strong for over 150 years. Situated in the Belgian town of Antwerp, students benefit from rich opportunities for studies, recreation, and after-school activities. IT coordinator Peter Celis deployed the Cisco Meraki cloud-based solution to provide teachers and students with a reliable network that would facilitate their studies and simplify overall network management.


Original Networking Challenges

  • Needed to replace the aging networking equipment with a simple management platform and reliable network access for users
  • Wanted a solution that was fully integrated and had a user-friendly interface for the small IT team to easily manage the school’s three locations

Why Cisco Meraki

  • The intuitive dashboard allows Peter Celis and the IT team to easily configure network settings for comprehensive security and optimisation
  • With 15 SSIDs available per network, the IT team can assign varying levels of traffic shaping or firewall rules to students, teachers, and guests, ensuring appropriate usage
  • Features like automatic RF optimisation and channel selection ensure high performance in dense, challenging environments
  • Unified control over switches, security appliances, MDM, and access points (APs) provides a single management platform, rather than various solutions to independently manage


The Deployment

  • Installation and complete configuration of Meraki indoor APs, security appliances, Layer 3 switch, and MDM was completed in about 40 hours
  • Different building sites share resources with each other using the Meraki automatic site-to-site VPN, which can be configured in just a few mouse clicks
  • 4 SSIDs have been configured to support school-owned, employee-owned, student, and guest (using NAT mode for isolation and added security) devices
  • Students and staff access the network using Meraki RADIUS authentication, while guests are provided temporary logins with per-SSID and per-client bandwidth restrictions


Results

  • All of the learning areas are now blanketed in WiFi and about 70% of the rooms have wired access, a significant improvement from the previous network
  • The IT team can establish time-based restrictions on each SSID, ensuring appropriate network usage and preventing guests from accessing the network during off hours
  • While students and teachers are benefitting from the full speed of the network for the first time, guests are also reporting a much better user experience with simple login capabilities
  • The unified dashboard has made it much easier for the IT team to have visibility into users, devices, and applications at the different locations, and also provide a safe and secure environment for the students
  • With new feature releases and automatic updates included in the device licenses, Peter Celis periodically tours the dashboard to discover the features he can now benefit from at no additional cost
  • The IT team is able to monitor and troubleshoot their dashboard remotely and can even add new devices to the network in minutes to add capacity as needed
The user-friendly interface allows us to manage the complete network via the dashboard, which was important to us in selecting a new solution. I can also browse the dashboard from time to time and see all of the new features that are being added/updated regularly.Peter Celis, IT Coordinator