University Builds Network Diversity with Second Broadband Fiber Network

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Thanks to a grant, this small private university invested in a redundant path to the state-wide broadband network to secure Internet access for students, faculty and staff.

maloneAbout five years ago, the IT department at Malone University began looking for a way to develop a redundant network access path to ensure uninterrupted access to both the commercial Internet and the state-wide broadband OARnet network.

“The Internet is an integral part of the activities of our students, faculty and staff. So we need to make sure it’s up or we don’t get business done,” says Adam Klemann, Support and Infrastructure Manager for the school’s IT department.

“The Internet is no longer just something that is convenient to have,” notes Jim Shaffer, Senior Network Engineer for Malone University. “It’s become a utility like natural gas or electricity. If the Internet is not working, you might as well turn off the lights and go home.”

In January 2012, the Malone University team attended an educational event where they learned about OneCommunity’s plans to expand its broadband fiber network into the Canton region. At about the same time, they identified a grant opportunity from the Ohio Board of Regents to fund increased access to OARnet that would help pay for the construction and implementation of a fiber network for the school.

“We wanted to build diversity with a second ISP,” says Shaffer. “And this grant was a really great fit for us.”

Shaffer recalls that OARnet staff as well as OneCommunity’s Director of Sales, Tony Grech, assisted the Malone team in completing the documentation needed for the grant application. Once the grant was secured, Shaffer says the construction and implementation phase of the project went smoothly. The new network was brought into service right on schedule in the fall of 2012.

Building A Partnership That Works

Shaffer and Klemann say they enjoy working with the OneCommunity Network Operations Center (NOC) because they know the person they call will be the person working on their request. There are no “tiers” to work through to get the help needed when a change is proposed.

For example, since academic and nonacademic video traffic has grown to consume as much as 60% of the system’s bandwidth, it has become essential to monitor that traffic and balance the load between the school’s three ISPs.

“As I’ve needed to make changes to the protocols I use to balance the load, the OneCommunity NOC engineers have been very helpful. The typical response is always ‘How can I help you?’” says Shaffer.

Klemann and Shaffer say they value the partnership they’ve developed with OneCommunity’s team of NOC engineers.

“As a smaller institution, you have to build a partnership so that when unexpected things happen, you can make a phone call and know you’re talking to somebody on the other end who cares about what’s going on,” says Shaffer. “This is a great partnership that we value very much.”

Klemann says the close working relationship with the OneCommunity NOC has helped the Malone team stay ahead of the curve as traffic has grown exponentially over the last few years.

“We’re not just buying a product or service,” says Klemann. “We’re buying expertise that we don’t have in-house. And we’re buying into the trust that if something breaks, it will get straightened out. From this point of view, we’re very happy with the service we receive from OneCommunity.”

About Malone University

maloneLocated on 96 rolling acres in Canton, Ohio, Malone University is comprised of the College of Theology, Arts, and Sciences; the School of Education and Human Development; the School of Business and Leadership; and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Malone is a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, offering 41 majors, 42 minors, and 11 graduate programs. Nationally, Malone University is ranked in the top four percent of colleges and universities in career outcomes, top 10 (#9) best online financial aid packages, and top 50 (#30) most affordable Christian colleges. Regionally, U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges 2015 ranks Malone University among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest in the category Regional Universities, and to its list of best online bachelor’s programs. Statewide, Malone appears on the list of colleges offering the best lifetime return on investment in Ohio. Malone University has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as a military-friendly school by Victory Media, and as one of Northeast Ohio’s top workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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