Charter school gain faster network, more computers

Mushroom Networks, Inc. today announced that TRUFFLE, the company's flagship product, has been implemented by East Wake Academy. TRUFFLE solved two critical challenges for the private elementary school: Internet reliability and computer access. The solution, which optimizes Internet speed and reliability while creating cost-savings for all types of businesses, enabled East Wake Academy to nearly double the number of computers at the school. With improved computer and Internet access, East Wake students and teachers can also work more efficiently to maximize productivity and learning in the classroom.

"East Wake Academy is an educational institution dedicated to the implementation of 21st century technology. Our teachers and students rely heavily on resources found on the Internet. A fast, reliable connection to those online resources is essential to our success as a school and our students' success in the classroom," said Michael Durdin, network administrator for East Wake Academy.

Before installing Mushroom Network's TRUFFLE device, East Wake Academy (a K-12 Charter School with about 1,050 students) relied on only one 6mb DSL line to provide Internet access to 250 computers. The Internet went down intermittently each day and teachers would have to stop their lessons while the modem was reset. Internet down-time caused classes to lose momentum, while students lost precious time on the computers.

Durdin added, "I can't blame the issues we were having on the DSL service we had. It was never designed to handle 250 computers. We were pushing it way past its limits due to budget constraints. We were unable to afford the same expensive Internet options as larger companies and campuses. This not only limited the amount of computers we could have on campus, but the use of other technologies as well.

Since installing the TRUFFLE, East Wake Academy has grown the amount of computers on campus from 250 to 497, distributed over six buildings. Fiber optic cable is used to connect each building to the one housing the TRUFFLE, which is connected to one T-1 line and five 6mb DSL lines. Now, East Wake's students and teachers can access the Internet reliably and with maximum speed to vastly improve efficiency in the classroom.

"With Mushroom Networks' TRUFFLE device, we took the same DSL technology we had, added four new lines, and are now supplying approximately 500 computers with quick and reliable Internet service. Most importantly, we have the room we need to grow as an organization," said Durdin.

Mushroom Networks' line of Broadband Bonding products including TRUFFLE easily installs between the broadband modems and the local network at the customer's premises without requiring any configuration changes to the existing network, and does not require any coordination with the ISPs. The device bonds as many as twelve high-speed Internet connections of any type, wired or wireless, from multiple service providers into a single Internet connection.

"Mushroom Networks' TRUFFLE device was extremely easy to setup. First, I hooked it to the network and issued it a suitable IP address. Second, I put the DSL modems in bridge mode and hooked them to the front of the device. Lastly, I configured each DSL line for PPPOE with username and password. That was it. The first-time setup can be done really quickly by anyone with basic networking experience," added Durdin.

The school faculty reports Mushroom Networks' TRUFFLE device is performing better than they had imagined. The school now has the ability to add multiple 6mb DSL lines at a price of $75.00 each.

"The TRUFFLE has been an absolute life-saver. Minus the T1 line, we could max out the version of the TRUFFLE we have with six DSL or Cable lines for approximately $450. That is a deal for fast, reliable Internet service," said Durdin.

Small and medium businesses face many challenges when it comes to choosing Internet services. Legacy technologies like T-1 and MPLS are reliable but very expensive and yield slow performance when compared with today's DSL or cable standards. DSL and cable have fast downloads but offer slow upload speed, which is unacceptable for many businesses as well as schools. In addition, service quality can dramatically fluctuate depending on physical distance to the Internet Service Provider or time of day.