Networking & Wireless

Chino Valley USD Upgrades to Fiber

Chino Valley Unified School District (USD) in Arizona is in the process of implementing a 10-gigabit private fiber optic wide area network (WAN) between all four of its schools, with the goal of improving the district's network scalability, security and speed.

The reason for the upgrade is familiar to many school districts. As adoption of online educational resources increases, network performance decreases due to overwhelming demand for bandwidth. Chino Valley USD is adopting digital learning resources and operational tools, and its legacy wired network couldn't keep up, according to a news release.

In the 2015-16 school year, the school district issued a request for proposal to implement a new wide area network using E-rate funding, and in March 2016 it approved a contract for E-rate WAN services from WANRack, a provider of fiber-based communication networks and related services for schools.

WANRack's design model allows the company to provide lit or dark fiber solutions. With lit fiber, WANRack maintains and operates the equipment required for a fiber network to pass traffic. With dark fiber, the customer maintains and operates the equipment itself. WANRack also claims that its fiber optic WAN can provide "superior bandwidth, scalability and security as compared to traditional cable or telephone company offerings, often at a significant cost savings."

Larry Fullmer, IT Director for Chino Valley USD, said he thinks the private, high-speed fiber network "will more than satisfy" the district's needs.

Milan Eaton, state E-rate controller for the Arizona Department of Education, said he would like to see all Arizona school districts implement high speed fiber networks like the Chino Valley's. "A private fiber WAN reverses the imbalance that exists between bandwidth supply and demand in K-12 schools," he said in a prepared statement.

Construction of Chino Valley USD's private fiber optic WAN will be complete later in September 2016.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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