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London School Of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine Fighting Fit After £500k Investment In New Foundry Networks Technology

(PresseBox) (Unterschleißheim, ) .
- Expenditure on networking part of a major capital investment programme
- Foundry’s high performance PoE VoIP-ready switches to support the School’s research, teaching and training activities for at least 5 years
- Foundry establishes a dominant position in higher education with a client base of over 25 UK institutions

Foundry Networks®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FDRY), a performance and total solutions leader for end-to-end switching and routing, today announced that The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has completed a project to completely refresh the organisation’s network infrastructure at its main Keppel Street campus in Bloomsbury using its latest BigIron® and FastIron® Ethernet switch technology. This will provide a robust, high performance and scalable platform for all the School’s research, teaching and training needs for at least the next 5 years. The project, worth approximately £500k, was completed by Foundry partner, Matrix Communications.

Founded in 1899, LSHTM’s focus is to improve health worldwide through research, postgraduate teaching, advanced training, and informing policy and practice. Its activities involve three key areas and departments – Epidemiology and Population Health, Infectious and Tropical Diseases, and Public Health and Policy. Internationally recognised as one of the leading institutions in its field, with HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as its patron, LSHTM staff have been instrumental in finding the link between smoking and lung cancer, and between mosquitoes and malaria. With revenue of £63.4 million, LSHTM today has 740 staff and 2,420 students - 865 of whom are London-based, the remainder comprising those on distance learning courses.

Network infrastructure has been installed in two key phases, with a third forthcoming. For the first, Foundry was chosen as the vendor of choice in 2003 when a new seven-storey building extension at the Keppel Street site – the North Courtyard - was completed creating much needed office space.

Sheena Wakefield, LSHTM’s head of IT services, explains: “Back then, we were looking for a partner for the initial North Courtyard project, one who we hoped would support us in the long-term for a complete network refresh project which we expected to do later when more funding was available. We chose Foundry on the basis of technical merit, value for money, and a product roadmap which we knew would support us over time. They also had good references and expertise in working with the higher education sector.”

The main project - phase two - has seen investment in a brand new data centre and the complete replacement of old network technology at the main Keppel Street site with two BigIron RX-16 backbone switches – linked for resilience – along with 18 FastIron SuperX edge switches.

The new SuperX switches are Power over Ethernet-ready (PoE) which was important to LSHTM in the context of expanding its Mitel VoIP solution, and rolling out wireless access points, and CCTV cameras in select buildings, without needing to buy extra switches or external power supplies.

Wakefield says, “In-built PoE gives us the potential for cost savings. In addition the BigIron RX and FastIron SuperX series switches provide us with much needed flexibility and capacity, as well as including sFlow traffic analysis technology. This allows us to drill down really quickly to monitor traffic patterns on the network and respond rapidly to any abnormal issues.”

The completion of the second phase has been a far more complex project than the first which involved provisioning the North Courtyard building with new switches. As well as installing all the hardware, it has entailed a move from Layer 2 to Layer 3 switching and the creation of virtual LANs (VLANs) throughout the School. Wakefield explains, “It wasn’t a simple replacement job - the technical expertise of Foundry and Matrix was important in helping us to develop a new network design, using VLANs based on building location, certain floors and applications like voice, CCTV and wireless to ensure network traffic is routed efficiently.”

It is intended that this major investment in network infrastructure will carry the School forward for at least the next five years. Wakefield says, “Foundry enables us to do this as both the BigIron RX and FastIron Super X switches are 10-Gigabit-capable, and while we don’t yet require that level of performance, we’ve chosen future-proof technology with room for growth as our requirements evolve.”

The delivery of services to staff and students is changing with some lectures now being filmed and content accessible later to reinforce what has been learnt or for revision purposes. The School has implemented a virtual learning environment – a web-based application provided by Blackboard Inc – which offers a one-stop-shop for students to access course information, materials, announcements, and links to recorded lectures. Incidentally Blackboard is a Foundry customer, too.

Looking to the future, LSHTM has recently been granted planning permission to build another extension to the Keppel Street site – the South Courtyard project – which will add a large state-of-the-art 300-seat lecture theatre, a smaller 90-seat one, teaching rooms and additional office space for 80 staff. Building work started in January 2007 with completion expected by the summer of 2008. This constitutes phase three for LSHTM’s network infrastructure redevelopment.

Wakefield concludes, “Updating the network throughout the School was crucial - doing nothing was not an option as the old solution had become obsolete. The success of the project is evidenced by the fact we have a stable and secure network, one which will support the School in the long-term. Given the scale and complexity of the project, the excellent working relationship with both Foundry and Matrix was a major factor in this success.”

Bob Schiff, Foundry’s vice president and general manager, enterprise business unit, said: “We’ve established an enviable reputation in the Higher Education space with over 25 UK institutions choosing Foundry and hundreds worldwide. The common denominator for all in selecting Foundry is high performance, easy scalability and innovative features, at an industry-leading price. We’re delighted that the LSHTM project has gone so well and that we’re part of the new South Courtyard development.”

Brocade Communications GmbH

Foundry Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) is a leading provider of high-performance enterprise and service provider switching, routing, security, and Web traffic management solutions including Layer 2/3 LAN switches, Layer 3 Backbone switches, Layer 4 - 7 application switches, wireless LAN and access points, access routers and metro routers. Foundry's customers include the world's premier ISPs, metro service providers, and enterprises including e-commerce sites, universities, entertainment, health and wellness, government, financial, and manufacturing companies. For more information about the company and its products, visit www.foundrynetworks.com.