Goffstown School District Lights New Fiber Optic Network

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Inspecting one of the NETGEAR switches used to light Goffstown’s new fiber optic network are (left to right) Gary Girolimon, SAU#19 director of technology, Marc Abatiell, FairPoint Communications’ Gov/Ed account manager; Brian Balke, SAU#19 superintendent; and Steven Bourget, technology support specialist and computer educator.

Goffstown, NH August 1, 2016 – This summer the Goffstown School District implemented a cutting-edge fiber optic-based wide area network (WAN). This new “dark fiber” WAN connects all five Goffstown schools and the administrative offices at 10 gigabits per second. With speeds 50 times greater than the network it replaced, this blazing-fast fiber optic network is allowing the district to consolidate servers and services, to eliminate redundant equipment, and to improve the on-line learning experiences for its nearly 3,000 students.

Fiber optics is the use of thin flexible strands of glass to transmit data via light signals. With fiber optic signals, there is very little signal loss during transmission, allowing faster transmission speeds and longer distances. Dark fiber refers to media that an end-user lights with their own equipment and manages themselves. Goffstown’s dark fiber project has been in the planning and development stages for nearly a year. The advanced capabilities of the district’s NETGEAR M6100 chassis switch located at Goffstown High
School, which is the hub of the network, and the NETGEAR M5300 switches deployed at each remote location made the project feasible. After careful review the project was approved by the Goffstown School Board earlier this year.

“The concept was proven over a year ago when we deployed dark fiber to our sports fields,” said SAU#19 director of technology, Gary Girolimon. “We use this fiber for voice and data, and for broadcasting live video of our games to the local cable access channel. Connecting to each of our schools in the same manner simply required the availability of the fiber strands and long distance optics for our NETGEAR switches.” After responding to an RFP, FairPoint Communications was chosen as the fiber vendor.

“We are pleased to provide a unique fiber solution for SAU#19, serving Goffstown and New Boston, as they seek to enhance educational opportunities for their students,” said Karen Romano, FairPoint Communications’ VP of Government & Education Sales. “While fully managed solutions have and continue to be the most widely deployed service solutions, SAU#19 was seeking a solution that enabled them to manage their own network and take advantage of new and short term federal funding options.”

Besides boosting the bandwidth between buildings, this new dark fiber network allowed for the consolidation of Internet bandwidth. Rather than requiring six independent business-class Internet connections, one very high bandwidth symmetrical Internet circuit is now deployed at the hub. “With the proper bandwidth, the opportunities for online learning are limitless” said Girolimon. “We were thoroughly impressed with the
dedication and attention to detail demonstrated by the FairPoint construction team, and amazed at the performance of our NETGEAR switches,” he continued.

The driving force behind this project was improved services, however the Goffstown School District found that there can be a substantial financial benefit to implementing high-bandwidth fiber optic networks. The District will realize substantial savings due to the elimination and consolidation of equipment and services.

Other New Hampshire school districts wanting to learn more about the benefits of fiber optic networks should contact EducationSuperHighway, the leading non-profit focused on upgrading the Internet access in public schools. EducationSuperHighway has partnered with the New Hampshire School Connectivity Initiative (NHSCI) http://nheon.org/nhsci/, which includes the New Hampshire Department of Education, the New Hampshire Department of Information Technology, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and
Economic Development, and the University of New Hampshire. The goal of NHSCI is to ensure that New Hampshire’s K-12 schools and districts have access to scalable high-speed broadband.

Learn more about NHSCI and the ESH partnership at http://nheon.org/nhsci/

Learn more about EducationSuperHighway at: http://www.educationsuperhighway.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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