Reliable, secure network internet connectivity helps Native American students explore the world outside their Arizona reservation.

  • Industry: Education
  • Solution: Data Center, Autonomous Network, Harsh Environments, Wireless Networking (WiFi)

The Whiteriver Unified School District serves the communities of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Eastern Arizona. With more than 2400 students and staff, the district includes five schools and an administration building across a rural, underserved area.

A vision to elevate and extend the reach of Native American students via the Internet came true with the implementation of a reliable, sophisticated, and secure, wired and wireless network. By securely assuring access and connectivity, Pierre Dehombreux and the district have opened opportunities for those growing up on the reservation.

Whiteriver Unified School District image
Whiteriver Unified School District logo
From the beginning, we wanted our network to provide our students the ability to communicate with the world outside to gain more education. ALE showed interest in being a partner to build this network.

Pierre Dehombreux, Director of Information Technology, Whiteriver Unified School District

Challenges

  • Parts of the United States remain technologically underserved. Without reliable internet access and connectivity, rural areas such as Whiteriver, struggle to advance their communities and create opportunities for citizens.
  • Over the past two decades, Whiteriver’s IT leader has strived to expand technology, and ease of access for the district’s students and staff. This entailed creating a fiber backbone, backed-up by licensed microwave for redundancy. This was followed with a network architecture that would provide sufficient reliable bandwidth to all Whiteriver students, teachers, and staff, suitable to meet 21st century learning needs. With the build-out came the question: How do we secure an open network? An intelligent network with access policy enforcement, reliability, security, and that was self-correcting, would be required.

Action
Whiteriver conducted a thorough evaluation of solutions from several vendors for the network refresh. The incumbent vendor had lost touch with Whiteriver after it had been acquired by another company. Service and support proved to be a key element in Whiteriver’s decision criteria for the new network. Supported by three staff, with only one certified to manage the network, it needed to offer a combination of automation, reliability, and an advanced security feature set, to satisfy Whiteriver’s demanding requirements. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise networking solutions was selected to deliver on these needs. Today Whiteriver has built a sophisticated, advanced network with LAN, WAN and WLAN which is beyond many big city schools. Most recently, the network has enabled Whiteriver to deploy security cameras and door access on their five campuses.
Products & Solutions
Benefits

Technical Benefits

  • OmniSwitch and Stellar wireless solutions deliver higher performance, improving backbone and access speeds
  • An intuitive CLI and friendly OmniVista2500 NMS streamline day-to-day management
  • Security at the network level is enforced using advanced automated user and device access policies
  • Resiliency is achieved using virtual chassis, redundant links, and a dedicated out-of-band network

Financial Benefits

  • A network automation fabric eases operational overhead
  • ALE switches deliver technology advances with an anticipated 5+ year lifecycle
  • Considerably more cost-effective to deploy and maintain than the previous network

User Experience Benefits

  • Security and performance of the network met user expectations
  • Teachers utilize more education tools and apps for broader learning
  • Students access the network using Chromebooks and other BYOD devices
  • Security cameras and secure door access add to campus safety
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