A $60,000 investment in new network switches is expected to save Wellington Schools money in the long run, according to business manager Tim Wulfhoop.
The Wellington board of education approved a master lease purchase agreement with Hewlett-Packard for the new equipment at its meeting Sept. 15. Cisco Systems previously provided the district with the network switches.
Switches create a high-speed network. Routers connect networks and link computers to the Internet.
Wulfhoop said he began looking into different pricing options once it was determined that the new McCormick Middle School would be short two switches. Wellington High and Westwood Elementary each also need a switch replaced.
“We determined we didn’t have enough switching, the power over ethernet switching in particular, we didn’t have enough of that to cover the needs of the building,” he said. “We need one just for the (security) cameras.”
A power over ethernet switch allows network cables to carry electrical power. For example, it can allow a security camera to communicate with recording and display equipment while providing power at the same time.
The roughly 20 new switches will cost the district about $60,000. That price tag includes the equipment, installation, and a lifetime warranty.
Cisco wanted $20,000 for only four new switches. To replace everything would have cost more than $100,000.
Wulfhoop said HP’s price for the switches is about 25 percent of their actual market value.
“The more equipment we added the more the price went down,” he said. “This is an incredible bargain.”
Starfish Computer Corporation, who priced the HP and Cisco switches, will manage them for the district for $200 a month.
The district currently pays about $700 a month for the management of the Cisco switches and their warranty. Four new switches from them would have increased the monthly cost to about $1,100.
That should save the district $6,000 a year just in maintenance costs.
Not only will the switches cost the district less, but the new switches should speed things up. The current switches only give the district one gigabit of Ethernet, where the new ones will give the district 10 gigabits.
“It’ll support us for a long, long time,” Wulfhoop said.
He expects the new switches to be installed by mid-October. After setting them up and testing each one, actual activation should only take a few days and be virtually seamless.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise Business manager Tim Wulfhoop talks about the new HP network switches at the Wellington board of education meeting Sept. 15.