Networking & Wireless
Alaska School Deploys Passive Optical LAN
Grace Christian School,
a K-12 school in Anchorage, AK, has upgraded to a passive optical local
area network (LAN) to provide increased bandwidth and reliable
connectivity for the school's 60 teachers and 600 students.
the past three years, the school has purchased $100,000 worth of
technology, including Smart Boards, interactive projectors and Apple
TVs. However, teachers were reluctant to use the technology in their
classrooms because the school's network infrastructure used category
5/5e (CAT5) copper cabling, which resulted in lack of bandwidth, signal
degradation and dropped connections. The school wanted to upgrade its
infrastructure to support the growing number of networked devices
throughout its large campus and also provide parents with access to a
The school partnered with DSI, a local communications infrastructure company, and DSI recommended Zhone Technologies' FiberLAN system. The two companies collaborated to to implement Zhone's
gigabit passive optical LAN. According to information on Zhone
Technologies' site, its FiberLAN system can provide high speed data,
voice and video to multi-level, multi-unit complexes.
implementing the new system, teachers have increased their use of
networked devices in the classroom because they no longer worry about
wasting valuable class time with slow or dropped connections. The
school's IT team has also reported a significant reduction in operating
and maintenance issues, and the small team now has more time to focus
on other work.
"The Zhone solution gave us connectivity
everywhere — it's like being on a new campus," said Terry Thornhill,
chief technology officer at the school, in a prepared statement. "I
don't have to spend two or three hours of every day working on the
infrastructure. I haven't had a single ONT fail and I don't have to
deal with a fiber connection not working like it's supposed to.
Teachers don't have their workstations dropping off the network.
Everything works like it's supposed to, every time."
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.