Grace Christian School Deploys Zhone Passive Optical LAN Solution

  • Zhone Technologies
OAKLAND, CA — By deploying Zhone Technologies' Passive Optical LAN Solution, Grace Christian School, a K-12 school in Anchorage, Alaska, has updated its network infrastructure to provide reliability connectivity that supports digital learning. This is according to a case study titled "Grace Christian School Supports Digital Learning with Deployment of Zhone Technologies' Passive Optical LAN Solution," in which Dr. Terry Thornhill, chief technology officer at Grace Christian School, explains how the school needed to upgrade its network to support its purchase of $100,000 of technology, including SMART Boards, interactive projectors and Apple TV modules, as part of an initiative to prepare its students for secondary education.

Built in 1980, the school was still utilizing its original Cat 5 copper cabling, and was experiencing frequent lapses in its connectivity and a lack of bandwidth to support the school's increasing number of network-enabled devices. Thornhill knew the school needed to update its infrastructure to support the size of the campus and its long-term growth. It also required a network that would allow parents to have access to the campus' Intranet.

From Cat 5 to Fiber LAN


"We were using Cat 5/5e cables, which didn't have the signal range we needed for our campus layout," said Dr. Thornhill. "We ran into so many issues – signal degradation, dropped connections, signal loss. The result was our teachers wouldn't use the technology for fear of losing valuable class time. In short, the signal latency was really affecting our student's learning."

DSI, a woman-owned communications infrastructure company in Anchorage, Alaska, recommended Zhone Technologies FiberLAN solution, a next-generation Optical LAN solution. Zhone Technologies and DSI collaborated to create a solution that provides reliable high-speed data, voice and video services for the school's 60 teachers and 600 students. The case study outlines the following aspects of the deployment:

  • Using Zhone Technologies' access and aggregation platform equipment, DSI designed a high-speed, large-scale network that delivers triple-play services to more than 40 classrooms and offices.

  • The reliability of the new network gave teachers confidence to use network-connected technology in their lessons.

  • With the new network infrastructure, operating and maintenance issues were virtually eliminated, allowing Grace Christian's small IT team to focus their time elsewhere.


"The Zhone solution gave us connectivity everywhere — it's like being on a new campus," reports Dr. Thornhill. "I don't have to spend two or three hours of every day working on the infrastructure. I haven't had a single ONT fail and I don't have to deal with a fiber connection not working like it's supposed to. Teachers don't have their workstations dropping off the network. Everything works like it's supposed to, every time."

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