Liberty Hill ISD becomes one of the first (if not THE first) school districts in Texas to see the benefits of using "fiber to the edge" technology and is rolling it out in their new Santa Rita Elementary School, which is set to open in 2020. Santa Rita will serve 800 students in its nearly 106,000 square feet of new space.
The District is focused on creating space that is flexible and adaptable, so the use of wireless networks will be pervasive. With the ever-increasing demands of wireless, and overall data networks evolving faster than ever, the District's IT leaders are under pressure to provide technologies that are fast, reliable and future proof. CRUX and LHISD's IT team did a lot of research and determined that going with an Optical Local Area Network (OLAN) was the right solution.
There are even more market factors to consider when thinking about the data network in today's schools:
- The steady increase in the demand for bandwidth. Overall, bandwidth has increased 45x since 2012 and will double again by 2020.
- Personal expectations are expanding rapidly. People commonly have multiple devices, requiring ubiquitous connections to provide ever-richer user experiences.
- Formerly independent systems continue finding their way onto the data network. Systems such as building automation, audio/visual, low voltage intelligent lighting, and many others meld with the unpredictable demands from the Internet of Things.
- IT is no longer exempt from the growing pressure to contribute to sustainability, LEED, Energy Star, or other green building programs.
- There is always an imperative to maximize every dollar and drive down operations costs, now more than ever.
- Traditional IT space is at a premium, and doing more with less is becoming a necessity in modern network designs.
While OLAN offers the right technical solution, the team needed to see how the market would price it as compared to a traditional network design. With that in mind, the design and construction team decided to ask bidders to price the new school with both a traditional copper-based network that the school district traditionally has used, versus an optical fiber-based network. The OLAN came in at a competitive price, validating the overall concept.
OLAN is the right choice for many other reasons, such as those listed in the following graphic.
The cost advantages for Santa Rita are compelling enough on their own, but the story gets better. Design is already underway on the new middle school in Liberty Hill ISD, and because the OLAN can extend the network 12 miles or more, the new middle school can be tied into Santa Rita's optical network saving even more money and keeping the network simple.
In conclusion, Liberty Hill ISD is moving forward with OLAN because it delivers a high performance future-proof network, consumes less power and space, uses less expensive cabling materials that don't need to be replaced, and costs less to build and maintain. It is a Win/Win/Win/Win.
If you want to learn more about fiber rich networks then I encourage you to read our whitepaper that is available here.