Aquinas is a respected and future driven residential college for students who are studying at Adelaide’s tertiary institutions. A home away from home located in a beautiful campus in North Adelaide.
Boasting a leading position as the residential option of choice for students, Aquinas has goals and expectations to fulfill, such as; expanding its highly successful academic support programme, building on the pastoral care and sense of community for which is widely known and developing new facilities, such as a new learning centre with dedicated rooms for video conferencing.
Being a boarding facility, Aquinas has high demands on its internet connection speed, reliability and bandwidth. With about 175 students each having their own room complete with smart TVs, laptops, live streaming content, video chatting, and accessing services like Netflix and Apple TV, the college needs a specialised solution.
As Todd Sparrow, Aquinas’ Business Manager explains, “Internet is an enormous and critical component for us, as our students use it for both academic and recreational activities.” Online learning is more prevalent now than ever before. He continues, “Our students’ expectations are much higher, YouTube and Zoom have become part of the classroom and an NBN connection is just not good enough.”
A high speed, dark fibre solution would provide the reliability of connection and the bandwidth required to support their needs, however Aquinas was of the understanding that the cost of fibre would be a barrier. Fortunately their network services provider, Caznet, was aware of a solution that proved to be perfect.
Caznet is a local company, providing a range of data centre, cloud, hosting and network services and worked with Aquinas to implement a strategy to improve the on campus network to support the high demands. This involved connecting to SABRENet’s dark fibre and incorporating other technologies to provide a complete solution.
Shane Clay, Director Caznet, explains, “Fibre connectivity is an important component of any solution we deliver to our clients. Unfortunately, the cost of dark fibre can be prohibitive. SABRENet’s network removed the cost barrier and allowed us to focus on delivering fast and reliable services tailored to Aquinas’ needs now and well into the future.”
SABRENet has a world class diverse fibre network, which allows technology to be used confidently to enrich curriculum and the online experience of teachers, students and administrators and to take advantage of the evolving opportunities presented by technology.
Caznet coordinated the transfer of existing internet and telephone services and as Todd Sparrow explains, “It was a seamless transition and the response time was really excellent.” Being able to use the SABRENet dark fibre effectively means that Aquinas has enough for its needs, but is not paying more than they need. “We’ve hit that sweet spot,” says Todd.
Aside from the educational aspects, Aquinas discovered last year during the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions, that internet demand increased. Being a residential college, Aquinas was the students’ home, therefore without university classes, they were homebased for learning and living at Aquinas. This involved more Zoom interactions, more video chatting, online learning and live streaming. The dark fibre solution handled all the requirements with ease and the students were able to communicate and stay connected.
Aquinas is always looking to the future and with the way technology has evolved exponentially over the last year, Todd Sparrow is confident that they will be prepared for future developments. “We have a 10Gbps channel and are currently only using a small amount of it. The connection handles all the devices that our students use, but we know demand will increase, and knowing that this can be scaled up is comforting.”