By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT – To meet increased need for Internet usage in schools, Davenport Catholic schools partnered to upgrade their Internet bandwidth speed.
Andy Craig, president of Assumption High School, said for the past few years each of the Scott County Catholic schools has partnered with the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency (AEA) based in Bettendorf. The AEA provided a T-1 line, which is like a highway from the AEA to each school for Internet speed. But 1.5 Mbps (mega bits per second) wasn’t meeting the needs of today’s usage, he said.
Assumption added another T-1 line several years ago, but “that doesn’t add (Internet) speed,” he noted. It’s similar to having two pipelines of information instead of one big pipeline of information.
As another contract agreement with the AEA approached, administrators from Assumption, All Saints Catholic School, John F. Kennedy Catholic School and St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School, all in Davenport, and Lourdes Catholic School, Bettendorf, began looking at options.
Each school needed significantly more speed. AEA was willing to help provide higher speed, but it would require an upgrade at its facility, resulting in a large expenditure of resources by AEA.
The Catholic schools decided that AEA would continue to provide access to the Internet, but the schools would find a connection to the AEA, Craig said. This connection is called an aggregate line.
It was determined that a fiber optic connection would provide enough speed. Craig contacted various providers for bids. After bids were received he met with the technology consultant for the school.
The schools opted to install an Internet network similar to Davenport Community Schools. The Internet is fed into the central administrative building and then out to the schools. AEA would send added speed to Assumption, which that school would feed to All Saints, John F. Kennedy and St. Paul.
Lourdes, with its closer proximity to the AEA office, would connect directly through the AEA.
Assumption footed the $5,000 bill for a managed Internet switch needed for the new technology and Mediacom set up the system for the Davenport Catholic schools.
“There was no cost for the AEA this way,” Craig said. “We took the hit for the switch and in the end it will be a savings for all of us to do it this way versus other options we had.”
Through this new Internet setup, 26 Mbps are sent to Assumption High School. From there, 10 remain for use at the high school, 8 Mbps are sent to John F. Kennedy, 5 Mbps to St. Paul and 3 Mbps to All Saints, based on what the schools thought they needed. Each school pays a portion of the increased bandwith monthly costs.
With the increased speed, John F. Kennedy Principal Chad Steimle said, “the faster speed will allow some students to move to Rosetta Stone (a language program) online. And it will increase all Internet speeds within the building.”
Online videos will flow smoother. With the slower speed, one could watch about 10 seconds, pause as the next part of the video loaded, and continue that way until the end. “Now we have an even flow.”