Fibre optic network gives lessons a boost at Colwyn Bay school

Connection to the FibreSpeed high performance optical fibre network has brought huge benefits for staff and students at Rydal Penrhos School, Colwyn Bay, both in lesson time and after class.

After years of struggling with slow traditional ADSL broadband, Fibrespeed’s fibre optic technology has brought them to the cutting edge of modern communications with noticeably faster and reliable access to a business-grade network.

“Good communications are critical for us,” explained Rydal Penrhos network and office services manager, Gareth Robinson. “Educationally a reliable system is invaluable for teachers conducting lessons, plus we have students here from all over the world, including China, Russia and the USA. It is important for them to be able to keep in regular contact with their families.”

The school needed an up-to-date alternative communications network when its traditional broadband became inadequate to meet its growing needs.

Gareth explained: “For a long time we were held captive to a very slow ADSL connection. We have more than 650 users here, including staff and students. The old system struggled to deliver online curriculum content and resources at the speeds we needed.

“If a class needed to upload an educational video to watch, there would be problems with buffering and inadequate streaming. That is no longer the case.”

Rydal Penrhos dates from 1885 and has preparatory and senior schools with boarders living on site. One of Gareth’s strategic aims was to improve wireless provision to the school’s boarding houses, as well as classrooms.

“Once we made the decision to go ahead it was easy to connect up,” said Gareth.

“Originally we went for a 20 Mbit/s speed but as soon as we realised how much more efficient it was and the advantages to be gained from it, we upgraded to 100 Mb. The support system has been great whenever we have had to contact our providers and I would happily recommend Netserve to other broadband users.”

After consulting with Netserve, the school has created a core network that serves the entire campus, allowing staff to utilise virtualisation software across several sites. At peak times, the school is now comfortably using 75 Mb of data without any slow-down in connection speeds.

Launched four years ago with the aim of boosting the North Wales economy, FibreSpeed uses state-of-the-art fibre optic technology to carry vast amounts of data. In contrast, ADSL uses standard phone lines, has limited bandwidth, slows down if more people use it, and has much slower upload than download speed.

Rydal Penrhos School was connected by FibreSpeed service partner Netserve Consultants of St Asaph.

Netserve director John Lyons said: “We were able to significantly update and improve the connectivity rates. The education of youngsters cannot be hindered by inadequate technology, and the fact that the school provides a quality education to students from all over the UK and across the world means there was a real need for a consistently efficient broadband system which could reliably accommodate so many simultaneous users.”

“Teachers now have confidence that they have the connectivity to effectively deliver the curriculum and students know that they can study in their own time without problems. What’s more, they can touch base with their families whenever they want, no matter how many miles apart they are.”

A Welsh Government project, FibreSpeed delivers business grade telecoms services to more than 185 businesses in north Wales via its network of service partners.