Technology infrastructure and connectivity within schools is a trending topic as Independent School Districts (ISDs) attempt to balance offering their students the best learning experience, while also giving their teachers the necessary tools to get the job done. With the unplanned and rapid move to online learning, Houston based PS Lightwave’s experience with numerous ISDs helps them to cost effectively increase bandwidth and connectivity to meet ISD needs.
Rhonda Cook, CEO and owner of PS Lightwave understands that increasing bandwidth consumption is a fact of life when it comes to connectivity within the ISDs. “School systems are pleased to learn about PS Lightwave’s experience and excellent customer service as we work through the challenges of online learning and increased bandwidth usage,” she explained. “We want to understand the network usage and then create a program that works for them. Using an Ethernet data circuit, ISDs can transmit data faster, with higher levels of security and reliability, all necessary in the changing face of education technology.”
PS Lightwave Connects Dickinson and Friendswood
PS Lightwave recently teamed with Melissa Williams-Scott, Ed.D, Executive Director of Information Systems at Dickinson ISD Technology and Mike Gasiorowski, Director of Technical Services at Friendswood ISD. They discuss their experiences working with PS Lightwave.
Dickinson ISD is located half-way between Houston and Galveston TX, and serves the towns of Dickinson, League City and Texas City and has about 12,000 students spread across 14 school buildings. PS Lightwave connects those 14 school buildings back to the Network Operations Center that then connects them to all the district network services.
“We initially worked with PS Lightwave on the LAN side and now we look to them for a full solution,” noted Williams-Scott. “They always worked quickly dealing with outages before, but this has definitely been more cohesive with a great response time. We have also seen that instructionally our connections are more stable, based on less teacher complaints about slowness.
“This was a major upgrade for us,” said Williams-Scott. “We went from 1GB Internet with burst to 10 GB. Our Elementary campuses have 1 GB pipes to the core, while other campuses have 10 GB pipes. We are glad to have the PS Lightwave support as we continue to build out our campuses.”
She continued, “Overall we are very happy with PS Lightwave. The service has been consistent and we haven’t seen any links go down. From a Network Manager’s position that’s all we ask for from these types of services. They have definitely gone above and beyond by assisting us with a few cases of helping us with kids, and that is definitely a plus in my book.”
Williams-Scott shared the incident that truly impressed her about the quality of the people working at PS Lightwave. She began by saying, “We received notice that a ‘suicide call’ had come in from a Veterans’ Hotline. PS Lightwave was able to quickly drill down to the IP address, find out who the student was and call us back. That is something you never expect from someone who isn’t an educator. PS Lightwave went over and above without asking questions and investigated to help.”
Similarly, Friendswood ISD has about 6,000 students and 700 employees spread across 6 school buildings and 3 operations support buildings. PS Lightwave connects the 6 school buildings back to the Network Operations Center that then connects them to all the district network services.
“Many of the projects I’m involved in directly impact the experience our students have with technology. Schools and education are increasing the use of cloud-based media rich content every year and I want our students to have a positive experience with this at FISD,” noted Gasiorowski. “PS Lightwave has been right there meeting our expanding needs. Towards the end of the previous school year I was noticing small pockets of saturation during peak usage times. I knew then it was time to move ahead with some bandwidth upgrades.”
“The improvement to communications and performance has been excellent. Device management functions have been much more reliable since increasing the bandwidth and the students’ experience with our Learning Management Systems and educational media rich content has also improved,” he continued. “FISD is hosting more video conferencing today than ever before. Seeing how events quickly unfolded with us needing to host students in virtual sessions, I’m glad we do pro-active monitoring and needs assessments. We will continue to monitor our usage and look to keep things running smoothly.”
“Moving from 1 G to 10 G links was a major upgrade for FISD,” said Gasiorowski. “Years ago, we started with only 128 K, and since then we’ve moved to 1.5 M, to a 10 M, then 100 M and from that to 1 G. Going to 10 G was the next natural progression. I think back on how much applications and bandwidth requirements have changed over the years and I’m glad that there are technologies and companies like PS Lightwave available to support these needs.”
Gasiorowski concluded, “PS Lightwave has been great to work with and because of COVID, the schedule I originally laid out had to be changed. PS Lightwave was accommodating and nimble enough to come through in the clutch. I was very happy with the way the project went. We had some scheduling challenges that came up, and I can’t say enough good things about the PS Lightwave team. Those guys have come through for me every time!”
PS Lightwave, a leading fiber-based, bandwidth infrastructure provider headquartered in Houston, Texas, owns one of the nation’s largest private fiber-optic Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs). The facilities-based fiber-optic network spans approximately 5,500 route miles, features over 1,600 on-net locations and delivers managed Multi-Gigabit Ethernet business services, Internet Access, Dark Fiber, Voice over IP (VoIP), and colocation and data center services to carrier, enterprise, cities, municipalities and educational institutions throughout the Greater Houston Metropolitan area. Contact us today to assist in your educational connectivity needs.
At PS Lightwave, Great Connections Happen Here™.