EnSky PoE Switches: How CTS Helped a Daycare Center Unite Its Wireless Network
Think being an IT professional’s tough? Imagine teaching rambunctious kindergarteners, juggling arts and crafts, tackling story time, and wrangling kids for meal and nap times while also managing the daycare center Wi-Fi network.For one kindergarten teacher at The Elegant Child Early Learning Center, that imagined scene was a reality. Amid the high-energy routine of a daycare, he also served as the Center’s IT professional.What started as a good-enough workaround became a major challenge both physically and financially for the teacher.The three buildings on campus all had three different Internet providers. Read: three different set-up costs; three different monthly bills; three different emails and passwords; three different accounts; three different networks to manage. The kindergarten teacher had to physically run from building to building to handle everyone’s constant networking demands while also managing his classroom of young, high-energy pupils.In addition to Wi-Fi in those three buildings, fenced-in playgrounds and the soccer field also needed seamless Wi-Fi for all personnel in those areas of the campus.
“The access points and wireless bridges are now on one network. Now, all of them communicate to printers in the upper building… They are very happy with it.”
Operations Manager at CTS
All the teachers needed better, stronger Wi-Fi reception on their Amazon Fire tablets. (For example, teachers use their tablets to track of who picks up the children during pick-up time.)To meet the staff’s expanding technological needs, The Elegant Child was using a consumer-grade wireless router. But 100-plus devices would burn right through them. The kindergarten teacher, already exceeding his own bandwidth, had the added stress of replacing them often. The necessary tech support and reconfiguration of routers and cost of products added costs to the school budget.The workable solution quickly became an overwhelming project. And it wasn’t the ideal situation that The Elegant Child wanted to provide to its staff. The school reached the point where it needed to update its wireless network not just for the sake of efficiency—but for its staff members’ peace of mind.Fortunately, The Elegant Child previously had worked with Commercial Technology Solutions (CTS), a tech company providing communication and telephone solutions for more than 40 years.CTS had already impressed The Elegant Child by updating the learning center’s telephone system. “During that meeting, it was brought up that they would really like to update their wireless network,” says Ron Roesch, operations manager at CTS. “I said we could help with that as well.”
Drawing Up Plans for a Successful Solution
CTS knew it wanted to use EnGenius switches and bridges in its wireless solution for The Elegant Child. But first, CTS needed to put together a solid plan that overcame all its current challenges and prepared them for any future expansions.EnGenius stepped in to help with that plan. George Bulvas, business development manager at EnGenius, and Gabriel Reyes, sales engineer at EnGenius, provided design support, which included places to put the access points and bridges.“They helped spec’ing out the hardware and [deciding] what settings needed to be set, including channel, placement, output, power, and more,” says Roesch. “Our technicians had enough information that they didn’t have to reach out for additional configuration. EnGenius laid it out all for us.”
Installing a Wireless Solution Amid Daycare Schedules & Pick-Up Times
With design plans ready to set in motion, CTS had to tackle another challenge: finding time in an almost always-on work environment. After all, kids in a daycare have an energy level and completely different rhythm to their days than adults do. (Plus, a lot of safety concerns!)“A daycare doesn’t have many days off,” Roesch says. “We had one day to get as much cabling as possible. We worked around teacher and classroom schedules and nap times to get the rest of the building done.”Because safety was a concern, CTS took extra care with their ladders and cabling while working around the small children.Because The Elegant Child used to have separate Internet providers for each building, CTS brought in fiber for the main building bridging the networks together into one.“We put three of the EWS1200-28FTP switches in each building,” Roesch says. “And then we ran all the cabling for the access points and those PoE management switches. We connected the buildings with EnStation5 wireless bridges.”The EWS550AP wallmount access points were a perfect fit for this customer, according to Roesch. The Elegant Child had hard ceilings in some of the buildings. “The access points made it a lot cleaner to where we didn’t have to mount access points on the drywall ceilings. We put them on the walls. And a lot of cabling was in the attics, so we went to the side of the walls with the access points up high. It works really well.“The access points and wireless bridges are now on one network,” says Roesch. “Now, all of them communicate with printers in the upper building… They are very happy with it.”
A Learning Space With Wi-Fi in Every Place
The Elegant Child now feels more like a campus environment than separate buildings. The access points and wireless bridges from EnGenius drape the entire learning center in a steady, strong Wi-Fi signal.“They are very happy with it,” says Roesch. All the devices are on one network, one Internet connection. No more staff members racing from building to building to print worksheets, reports, coloring pages, and everything needed for their classroom environment. And teachers can use their Amazon tablets confidently, knowing the Wi-Fi connection is superfast and reliable.Management of the wireless network has also been streamlined for efficiency—and for the kindergarten teacher’s sanity. “Being able to have visibility in the access points and upgrading them via the switches as well as seeing the signal strength of the different devices connected to the network is nice,” says Roesch.“The mapping that you’re able to import into the switches makes it easy to know where everything is if you need to go find one,” he adds. “It’s not overwhelming. It’s easy for even the lower tech-skilled person to understand what is happening with the switch.”
Focusing on What They Do Best
CTS helped calm the chaos at The Elegant Child, so now the learning center can focus on what it does best—providing a safe and nurturing developmental program for children. And CTS focused on its strength too—offering communication solutions and phone system maintenance services to businesses throughout the United States.