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GCN : April 2013
NETWORKING CASE STUDY GCN APRIL 2013 • GCN.COM 31 Until last year, the city of Boynton Beach, Fla., was operating a network with 13-year-old equipment that was becoming difficult and ex- pensive to maintain, subject to a growing number of failures and limited in the equipment and ap- plications that could be used. But the middle of a recession was not a good time for an upgrade. Florida's universities have helped established a statewide research and education network that that give local communities such as Boynton Beach high- speed access to the world. "With tight budgets, we tried to make everything last as long as possible," said Laurie Gagner, the city's network manager and head of its IT services network team. The failure of a switch serving the city manager's office about two years ago ended up having a silver lining, however. "The next think you know, we had approval to upgrade the network," Gagner said. The result was a wholesale re- placement of networking equip- ment that began in October 2012, and is expected to be completed in March. The new network not only is more reliable but also will be able to support a new genera- tion of services, such as wireless access and interactive voice re- sponse for the new phone system that is being planned. In addition to an increasing number of breakdowns and the difficulty of replacing hardware, it was becoming difficult to put new applications on the old net- work that could allow citizen services to be extended online. Gagner has no complaints about the old network, however. "We got an amazing return on investment," she said. "Any time equipment lasts more than 10 years, that's incredible." But the new network should make life in Boynton Beach city offices easier, both for the tech staff that main- tains it and for its users. "This is opening the door to a whole new The new network is not only more reliable, but will be able to support new wireless access and interactive voice response systems. FLORIDA CITY FLIPS SWITCH ON NEW NET, NEW OPPORTUNITIES BY WILLIAM JACKSON BOYNTON BEACH: AN UPGRADE BY THE NUMBERS 13 Age in years of Boynton Beach networking equipment before upgrade 7 Time in months needed for network equipment replacement (October 2012 -- April 2013) 69,000 Population of Boynton Beach, Florida 1 Terabytes of total throughput available with the new Avaya system 200,000 Cost, in dollars, of the upgrade project 25 Total sites supported by new network (including the police department, fire department, and city hall)