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Average Network Size: 700 students; 11,000 IP addresses
When Bob Henderson needed a “fix it and forget it” solution for enforcing network policy, he turned to Untangle. As an open source advocate, Bob was already familiar with Untangle after deploying it in a small business environment. When he joined the Lake Park Audubon School District as Technology Director four years ago, he recommended replacing their failing Lightspeed Systems web filter with Untangle. The “many features and ease of use” of Untangle “are a life saver,” said Bob.
The large, rural district relies on a suboptimal fiber connection and has always struggled with bandwidth issues. At the elementary school level, the network suffered whenever full class lessons were taught in the computer labs. Just thirty concurrent users working on rich media content brought the network to its knees. Not only did Untangle improve download speeds for those students, but it allowed Bob to manage bandwidth fort he rest of the school with ease. “Untangle’s Web Cache saved 8GB of bandwidth off the top,” Bob said.
The district includes a high school with 500 workstations split into four computer labs between two sites, plus 180 laptops and a BYOD policy that allows mobile devices on campus. Bob was constantly faced with issues due to proxying and students using inappropriate web sites and applications. Now that Untangle is in place, Bob can not only block or allow sites and categories, but he can also track usage at any given time down the the individual user. Bob relies so heavily on the insights provided by Untangle Reports that he has installed a large screen in his office to display them. He enjoys seeing the graphs change throughout the day; Untangle helps him keep his finger on the pulse of his network. “Untangle has saved me hours and hours managing the network,” said Bob. “I don’t have to worry about the little things anymore; I can work on the important issues like keeping the students safe online and keeping the network stable for all parties. At a cost 40% less than the previous solution, Untangle paid for itself in less than six months.”
Untangle is not only useful for blocking inappropriate content, but is also granular enough to allow Bob to say yes to the web content that students, staff and administrators rely on. Previously, the district had blocked YouTube completely. Teachers and students were finding ways around the policy by using proxies or skipping authentication altogether. When Bob installed Untangle, he was able to work with teachers to create a network policy that made sense – and enabled YouTube use that everyone agreed on.
In addition to supporting the needs of students, staff and administrators, Bob also provides public wifi for use during sporting and academic events throughout the school year. He relies on Untangle to provide this service without compromising the performance or safety of his network. “We’ve had up to 4000 people and 36,000 sessions running through Untangle. It works wonderfully and doesn’t miss a beat,” said Bob.