Minnesota School Gets a Complete Network Makeover from ZyXEL

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Clearbrook-Gonvick School located at Minnesota, USA, is a K-12 (Kindergarten through Grade Twelve) institution that was facing critical challenges with their network infrastructure.


Clearbrook-Gonvick wanted to provide their students and faculty with the latest technology, connectivity and mobility. The network the school had was an Ethernet based wired network that was very difficult to expand and lacked any management capabilities. Clearbrook-Gonvick needed a flexible, scalable and mobile network that offered wired and wireless Internet connectivity indoors and out – classrooms, libraries, cafeteria and sports field. The solution comprised of a combination of carrier grade Ethernet switches functioning on both copper and fibre, and wireless indoor and outdoor Access Point (AP) solution—with a combination of 802.11n and 802.11g technologies.

Solutions and Benefits

A carrier grade chassis based modular switch system MS-7206S formed the heart of the core network. The chassis system was then connected to rack mounted switches in server rooms distributed in four different locations of the building complex. These server rooms had Ethernet switches ES-2024PWR for wired network and they also connected all the 802.11n Access Points NWA-3166 distributed throughout the building for wireless coverage.

Clearbrook-Gonvick also wanted an outdoor wireless network so that students and staff had Internet access while outside and in the sports field. This solution was made possible using two ZyXEL’s powerful outdoor Access Points NWA3550. One of which connected the server room closest to the football field and the another bridged with the first. ZyXEL’s outdoor APs have dual radio—one provides network access to users and the other can be configured to perform backhaul function— linking back to the core network. Both the outdoor APs at Clearbrook-Gonvick were configured to operate in dual-mode offering maximum coverage and performance.

All the ZyXEL APs were Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled and were connected to Ethernet switches with built-in PoE injectors- the ES- 2024PWR. This functionality allowed the flexibility to position APs in locations for optimum coverage while eliminating any requirement for power outlets. It also reduced cable clutter.

Setting up and managing the entire network was also very efficient. Several virtual networks were built up and were isolated from each other using VLAN features of the switches and APs. This accommodated Clearbrook-Gonvick’s need for network segmentation to offer secure access to resources to authorized users only. In this way, different departments, faculty, staff, students and guests had their own private network with appropriate access privileges and restrictions, thus avoiding misuse or compromising resources.

Clearbrook-Gonvick was delighted with the manageability of the new network and also pleasantly surprised on how easy it was to add and expand the network. The Clearbrook-Gonvick solution is a testimonial to what ZyXEL can offer telcos—a compelling package of versatile solutions for their community businesses. With reliable products and responsive technical support at a very affordable price, ZyXEL offers unmatched value and is a great partner to have.

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