Best practice MBO Utrecht: from reactive to proactive network management(Publicatie)

Since September 2017, 2 locations of MBO Utrecht have been connected to SURFwireless. By choosing the new Wi-Fi network, MBO Utrecht has opted for proactive management and a future-proof service. Both students and lecturers are happy. "It works like a dream." Read the best practice.

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27 DEC 2017

This was an ambitious plan. When it became clear in May 2017 that MBO Utrecht was going to add a new location, the ICT service seized the opportunity to update both the Wi-Fi network and the fixed network. The replacement of the fixed network had already been planned for 2017. During the design for this, it became clear that there were many benefits to replacing the fixed and Wi-Fi networks simultaneously. For the Wi-Fi network, SURFwireless met all of MBO Utrecht's architectural requirements. Richard Geluk, Manager Information & Automation at MBO Utrecht, explains: "The contract with our current Wi-Fi supplier expires in August 2018, but via SURF we could make the changeover a whole lot earlier. That appealed to me, because I am greatly in favour of our SURF membership. They have so much knowledge. For a relatively small ICT team, it is really nice to have a chance to work with specialists. During the migration, they even provided our current supplier with the necessary information."

Heavy consumers of bandwidth

It was decided to not only implement SURFwireless at the new location, but to immediately do the same at one of the 6 existing locations of MBO Utrecht too. The Bontekoelaan was chosen, where the Herman Brood Academie and other units are housed. "The trainee musicians are heavy users of bandwidth," says Geluk. "There have been frequent problems with the Wi-Fi here. We get a lot of positive feedback from students and lecturers, which is great to hear. Getting compliments is fairly rare for an ICT service, because usually nobody notices anything when everything is working as it should. It's great, I would wish it for everyone."

Future-proof service

The choice of SURFwireless is something Geluk sees as an investment in the future. "It was really a one-for-one migration, but by making this choice, we also prepared ourselves for developments like the Internet of things. In the future, we want to create smarter buildings in which, for example, we can monitor where it is busy. SURFwireless is a future-facing service that will help with that."

Proactive management

MBO Utrecht has had a bring-your-own-device policy for students for the last 3 years (employees receive a laptop from the institution). This makes proactive network security crucial. MBO Utrecht uses a quarantine net, among other things. If a piece of equipment behaves suspiciously on the network, then the system can put it into quarantine. This technology works well with SURFwireless. Geluk also likes the possibility of monitoring usage continuously in real time. "We have moved from reactive to proactive management", he says.

Good support

Geluk is happy to talk about the run-up to the roll-out of SURFwireless. "The documentation is clear. You know what you can expect." First of all, a scan was carried out. On completion, a measurement was done to check that everything had been installed as agreed. "We bought some vouchers from Wentzo, the company that carries out work under SURFnet management, for some extra pieces of service. For example, they went over the design for the fixed network with a toothcomb. The vouchers provided a lot of added value. We will do the same thing for the next locations."

SURFwireless at all locations

MBO Utrecht is a co-ordinating organisation that seeks to get the best possible use from the ICT services that suppliers can provide. It was therefore relatively simple to compare the price and quality of SURFwireless with that of the previous supplier. Geluk notes that for some schools it is more difficult to analyse this information. "If you do your own network management, it is harder to estimate whether the costs for SURFwireless are justifiable. It is like comparing apples with oranges. We found it relatively expensive, but SURFwireless is becoming cheaper next year. That is one of the reasons for us to migrate the other locations starting in 2018."

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Latest modifications 01 Feb 2018