Justification and Project Summary
In designing the appropriate network for Bel Aire Elementary School, the design team of Hall, Morgan, and McGaw considered the current and potential future needs of the students, staff, and administration utilizing the school buildings. We recognize that the stakeholders desire the most robust, flexible, reliable, and fastest networking that money can buy. As elementary schools utilize more and more media-rich content, a network that can support large amounts of data transmission seems prudent and necessary. This network design must also support the software needs of the regular classroom teachers, Art, and Music. It must be able to provide for the various needs of all who utilize it, for all the various purposes that might be demanded of it, from accessing student information and collaborative learning to virtual field trips, podcasting, student productions, guest speakers and shared scheduling. By networking the building, the design team has provided shared access to equipment such as printers, scanners, and other hardware.
The Network Design Plan for Bel Aire Elementary presented an interesting challenge. This building project includes three buildings as part of a larger campus. The buildings included in this project were the Library/Classroom building (two floors), the Multipurpose Room building, and the Art/Music Room building. Each building must be networked within the building and between the buildings to enable students, staff, and administrators the ability to communicate both internally and externally.
The first item we considered was the cabling. We will start with the private fiber uplink line coming into the building. Fiber will link the MDF, in the Art/Music Room building, with the IDF’s in the other buildings. We will use single mode duplex fiber to connect our MDF to the world. We chose this because single mode fiber has a smaller diameter and thus the light cannot bounce back and forth off the sides. We will be using duplex fiber because while single fibers can be used to send and receive information, duplex fiber is much more efficient. From our MDF to each IDF, we will use multimode duplex fiber. This is because the runs are short. We will use 12 strand out to the internet and 6 strand between buildings.
There will be running, on average, 14 runs of Category 6 Ethernet connecting each room to the MDF or IDF in that building. Cat 6e cabling will be utilized throughout the buildings to provide the fastest speed of data transmission available. Typically, there will be four drops in each room, with four outlets in each of three corner drops and two outlets in the ceiling/wireless drops. The three corner drops are provided to allow flexibility in room design. The two ceiling drops are provided for a projector and a wireless access point. At the current time, we plan on activating only four of the corner ports in most of the classrooms, and the two ceiling ports. The number of wireless access points are designed for flexibility of usage by both staff and students.
The Media room, Library, Staff Development Room, and other rooms vary in their needs from the typical classroom. These runs and ports are marked on the architectural drawings.
Data Closets / Bandwidth / Server
The MDF will be located in the Art/Music Room Storage area. This closet was chosen due to its central location in relation to the other buildings and its security. We will create a separate room with a secured door within the existing closet. The four-legged locked data cabinet was chosen for this area due to the amount of equipment being placed in this closet, and the security necessary. The other 3 IDF closets are housing 19-inch rack casings for the patch panels and switches necessary to support that building or floor. Our racks are mounted to the floor. The MDF and IDF’s will be climate controlled with power backup.
The switches support 100Megs and are interconnected at 1 Gig.
As we anticipate utilizing Apple Products throughout the buildings, the design team chose the Xserve Quad Xeon with a dual-core Intel 2 GHz processor, 1 GB memory, a built-in SATA/SAS controller, 2 300GB SAS ADM hard drives, 24x DVD-ROM/CD-RW, and a dual power supply with a rack mounting kit. This server will be located in the MDF in the Art/Music Room closet
The design team has utilized wireless access points throughout the hallway of the Media/Classroom building. This design is to enable the teachers to use wireless technology for presentations in the hallway. To accommodate student use of the wireless network, we have also placed a separate wireless unit in each classroom. Due to the close proximity of the classrooms, we anticipate that multiple wireless access points will be accessible to students in any one classroom.
Testing and Documentation
The runs will be numbered as per the network outlet design. The contractor will test and certify that all runs, drops, and hardware are functioning properly. The documentation kept regarding this installation will include the certification of all hardware, the make/model of all equipment, the serial numbers, date purchased, cost, Mac Address, IP addresses, and school inventory numbers. The Director of Technology will store this documentation, with copies provided to the Business Manager and Superintendent. Additionally, all manuals will be kept in the Network Engineer’s office.