Networking

Making the grade

Khaled Hassan Al Marzouqi, Network Services Engineer with ADNOCThe Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi opened September last year. The mission of the school, set up at the behest of H.E. Yousef Omair bin Yousef, CEO of ADNOC, is to create and conduct a challenging and rigorous secondary academic curriculum for Emirati and other nationalities, as well as offer a wide range of artistic and athletic extracurricular offerings. A two-campus, college preparatory school based upon an American curriculum, Glenelg aims to prepare boys and girls for leading universities located around the world.

The technology infrastructure of the school was designed and implemented by ADNOC’s IT team, which was faced with the challenge of satisfying the stringent requirements of users, including faculty and students, also at the same time meeting the international standards warranted by the school. “Our network demands are profound and we have to meet the needs of our users regardless of how, when, from where and from whatever device they have to access the network. Our key objective was to design a scalable, reliable, fully redundant local area network,” says Khaled Hassan Al Marzouqi, Network Services Engineer with ADNOC, who was in charge of the project.

The fully converged IP network, probably one of its kind in the region, provides voice, data and video and currently supports around 400 students and 86 faculty. The network, which has a 10 gig backbone on fibre optic and one gig connectivity to the desktop, can scale up to 2000 users. “One of the reasons why we chose such a high-bandwidth network was because of the rich-media educational applications running on it, which require video streaming as well,” says Al Marzouqi. The network infrastructure, based on 3Com networking gear, boasts of 48 switches. Both the buildings in the campus also have one core switch each with L3 configuration.

In addition to the wired network, the campus has an overlay wireless network powered by around 80 access points, providing full mobility to users. The 802.11 a/g wireless infrastructure is managed by two WLAN controllers.

The Glenelg School network also supports IP telephony with around 360 IP phones. The VoIP network can be scaled up to 50000 users. Al Marzouqi says ensuring QoS for voice traffic is not an issue given the fact that the network has 10G speed on uplinks. “Moreover, we have 40G between the cascaded switches. So allocating certain bandwidth for voice traffic in order to ensure voice quality was not really an issue. However, we have implemented certain QoS on the network to ensure the flow of voice traffic by prioritize voice packets and segregation of these packets from the rest,” he adds.

ADNOC’s IT team clearly recognized the need to provide the best-performing network with iron-clad security measures, and its implementation was supported by 3Com partner ATS. The school’s leading-edge network is a fine example of what technology can do attract the most talented educators and students.

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