Networking & Telecommunications | News

Memphis District Overhauls Network, Moves to Hosted VoIP

Memphis City Schools (MCS) in Tennessee has completed two major upgrades to its technology infrastructure, both aimed at improving overall efficiency and subsequent cost savings and creating enhanced educational opportunities offered by advancing technology. The district is the largest in the state and the 23rd largest in the United States, with more than 200 school and administrative facilities serving more than 105,000 students and employing about 6,000 teaching faculty.

The district upgraded its existing asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) network to a high-speed fiber optic wide area network (WAN) in order to provide broader, faster Internet access and the ability to use more advanced software applications. Additionally, MCS upgraded its district-wide telephony system to a fully hosted voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, which included the configuration of 13,500 telephone and fax extensions. Both projects were completed in April.

MCS contracted with Education Networks of America (ENA) for both projects, which include the ENA Connect hosted VoIP service. "After our rigorous RFP process, we selected ENA because of their proven experience in the K-12 space, the demonstrable value they bring their customers and their superb record of project management," said Irving Hamer, deputy superintendent of academic operations, technology, and innovation. "Through this partnership, we have a world-class, best-practice IT foundation with which to launch critical instructional, professional development and operational solutions. It's the necessary architecture for improving both student achievement and the bottom line, now and in the future."

District CTO Curtis Timmons noted that all students and teachers in the district now have ready access to high-speed bandwidth of up to 1 gigabit. "That's a huge pipeline for securely supporting our data, voice and video." And, he added, since ENA is responsible for managing all aspects of end-to-end connectivity, "MCS can focus our resources on reaching those horizons rather than getting detoured by the technicalities."

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.