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ApplianSys announced today that Pender County School District, North Carolina, has purchased a CACHEBOX solution to facilitate a large 1:1 scheme across its 19 sites.
Pender uses a 500Mbps connection to serve 9,200 students. With its 1:1 Chromebook-to-pupil scheme in place, this internet link was frequently saturated.
The District’s Network Administrator Charles Allen describes the problem: “The idea behind the 1:1 scheme was enabling our students to access online educational resources, such as Khan Academy and BrainPOP. But this became unfeasible at certain times of the day. For example, every morning at around 8.40am internet speeds crawled because all the Chromebooks would be downloading software updates. Yet, our plan was to add another 3,000 devices to the network!”
“We considered upgrading the link to 1Gbps but this would require upgrading our Cisco router (at about $30k), firewall and switches,” he continues. “Moreover, to avoid saturating the connection with additional 1:1 devices, we would have to impose some restrictions on video content.”
When Charles came across CACHEBOX in his online research, the challenge of these upcoming network changes stopped being so daunting. CACHEBOX US Schools Sales Leader Sophie Clark describes why web caching is a much more cost-effective alternative to upgrading bandwidth:
“When thousands of devices simultaneously request the same files, large amounts of duplicated data packages travel from the internet to users. This is unnecessary and causes congestion that forces users to wait for their web content, wasting valuable lesson time.”
“However, investing in large bandwidth upgrades to alleviate congestion issues experienced only for a small portion of the day is overkill for schools like Pender County. And it still doesn’t solve the problem of duplicated traffic which leads to bandwidth wastage.”
Sophie explains how caching can help: “By downloading and storing just one copy of a requested web content, CACHEBOX reduces the strain on bandwidth at these peak times thus freeing up capacity for other browsing and downloads.. Moreover, by serving content locally, the appliance delivers it to users much faster. This speeds up web browsing for students while saving school from having to invest in expensive bandwidth upgrades.”
The district was initially planning to use its E-rate funding to buy the solution. However, given CACHEBOX’s affordability, it decided to complete the purchase outside of the government scheme.
A CACHEBOX420 has been deployed in the district’s core and serves requests to its 19 sites. Students can now access video and other large files including educational materials at much faster speeds. This doesn’t change even on the days when Chrome system updates are being downloaded.
Pender County School District provides education for approximately 9,200 spread over 16 schools. The district serves students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and consists of 16 schools: 8 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 3 high schools and an Early College High School.