The first six weeks of the school year was littered with issues — not only due to the new bell schedule, but also with the various new network improvements made to the school. Students and teachers experienced seemingly random internet outages causing immense issues in classes that rely on constant internet connectivity.
These problems were caused during the deployment of a new network system for Timber Creek. When running new fiber optic cable in the school, there were a few instances where the cables were cut, ending in a downed system. Other cases involved the removal of older power supplies causing power outages in the network closets around the school. Taking into account these instances, the school has been set up with a new monitoring system to predict when outages may occur and proactively prevent them.
All of this occurs in the midst of a massive network infrastructure refresh across Keller ISD. With most of the systems in the district averaging around seven years old, and a high amount of students connecting their own devices, the school board decided it was time to upgrade. Vaughan Hamblen, the Director of Technology and Systems Integration for Keller ISD, explained that the effort is to “future proof” the network systems.
“We want to ensure we’re getting the benefit from those funds as long as we can,” Hamblen said.
Hamblen also expanded upon some of the new plans to phase out the multi-network system currently in place. The “student” and “staff” networks are going to be replaced by a seamless system combining the two. Teachers and administration will be able to access less restricted internet through either a certificate authorizing their computers, or a web portal login. As for students, they will have their own way of logging in to the new setup once it rolls out.
“Anything that’s shared; devices that you have in carts, or if it’s in the library we want to roll those out without disruption and allow you to bring your own device and join the network easily,” Hamblen said.
The entire refresh is planned to finish by the summer of 2016, with much of Timber Creek having already been altered.