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Croatian Academic and Research Network Connects 1,300 Schools With WiMAX and Cisco Technology

12/22/09 - Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced that the Croatian Academic and Research Network (CARNet) has extended its Cisco Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) to connect 1,300 primary and secondary schools across Croatia.

As part of the Connected Schools initiative, the e-Islands project connects schools on Croatian islands with the mainland. This helps teachers give virtual lectures to pupils using video and multimedia equipment, including smartboards (touch-sensitive whiteboards for displaying computer output) over the IP network.

The new network enables students and teachers to access services such as e-mail, Internet, videoconferencing, Web hosting, online learning tools , including the online national encyclopedia (the first of its kind in Croatia), applications for content management and portal building, information exchange forums, and the European GÉANT research and education network.

  • So far, more than 1,300 primary and secondary schools have been connected to CARNet's Cisco IP network. In addition, CARNet equipped all scientific and academic libraries, 650 school libraries, 700 branch elementary schools, 391 secondary school staff rooms, and 54 high school dormitories in Croatia with computer equipment and Internet access. This includes a room-based videoconference system with 34 teleconferencing classrooms in 15 cities.

  • High-speed connections to schools are enabled by Metro Ethernet technology with Cisco 7600 Series Routers and Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series Switches. This platform serves as a foundation for introducing new services, such as content delivery, physical security through access control, and video surveillance.

  • CARNet's innovative use of Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) made it possible to connect 21 schools on the islands around Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir and Dubrovnik with regional schools on the mainland. A Cisco ISR was deployed in every school to connect smartboards, videoconferencing equipment and personal computers in a wide area network based on WiMAX and microwave technology. The ISR helps provide quality of service, which in combination with WiMAX facilitates proper prioritization of traffic and the quality of experience needed for remote teaching.

  • CARNet deployed a cluster of Cisco Unified Communications Managers to provide server-based call processing and call control. This, along with Cisco IOS® Software, helps ensure the efficient delivery of high-quality voice-over-IP communication between CARNet sites. The introduction of Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise helped CARNet to create a highly professional IT front office, providing systems administrators and users with a responsive fault diagnostics and maintenance service. CARNet's security team also uses the contact center to constantly monitor the network for any suspicious activity or malicious threats.

  • Protection and high availability of the network have been enhanced by Cisco firewall services in the data center and also at the school perimeter.

  • Moving schools onto a digital platform supports future migration toward new protocols and standards, including IPv6.

  • In line with CARNet's mission to help build an information society in Croatia, the organization offers several learning options for educational institutions. The CARNet E-learning academy offers a selection of tutorials and workshops. In addition, the Nikola Tesla National Portal for Distance Learning provides access to online content such as materials for the European Computer Driving License. The portal can also be used to check teaching and exam schedules and to access records. CARNet is also participating in the Cisco Networking Academy.

By Robert Hoskins

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