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Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, stands apart from many community colleges. Awarded the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2015, Santa Fe College prides itself on fast tracking its students to four-year universities and wellpaying jobs in everything from trades to technology. At a rate far above the national average, 62 percent of the college’s full-time students complete their studies or transfer to a four-year institution. The student population at Santa Fe College numbers over 20,000 full-time students and 10,000 part-time students.
Providing sufficient network bandwidth to meet the changing digital needs of its student body, faculty and administrative staff became a top priority for Santa Fe College. The network supports 1,200 lab computers plus faculty and administrative offices. About a year and a half ago, Steve Williamson, systems network manager and Dmitry Shevchuk, network administrator decided to launch a major initiative to completely transform the college’s aging network, which consisted of outdated Alcatel switches and Cisco routers across 28 campus buildings, 2 data centers and five remote locations.
On their wish list were items like increasing bandwidth, improving network reliability and greater bandwidth to accommodate video and other rich media used in online courses and capabilities that would enable greater automation, fast, secure access to cloud applications and the ability to upgrade the old analog and digital phone system to an IP telephony system.