Pierce College: Enhanced Security and Automation with Advanced LAN Switches


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Serving roughly 22,000 students each semester, Los Angeles Pierce College needed to modernize its local area network (LAN) to support new learning technologies and enhance security. Burwood Group was retained to assess the current state of the College’s LAN and provide a sophisticated, cost-effective solution.

The Challenge: Modernize LAN switches to supercharge connectivity

As one of nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, Pierce College has a reputation for combining state-of-the-art technology and learning. However, its LAN architecture needed to be updated in order to support new classroom technologies as well as to support its upgraded security video cameras.

Burwood Group was brought in to consult and implement a switch solution that would provide a strong, reliable foundation for mobile, cloud, and video technologies across the 426-acre College. In addition, the project would have to be implemented during off-hours to avoid disrupting the student experience during the day.

The Solution: Deploy and support a robust switch solution with no downtime

Pierce College IT staff and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) engineers determined the best switch based on the College requirements was the Aruba 8400 in the data center and the Aruba 2930 F edge switches in other buildings. Designed for the era of mobile devices, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things, the high-performance, high-capacity Aruba switches would give students, faculty, and staff a safe and secure physical environment for both education and work. In addition, the new core enables the delivery of education and learning process at Pierce College. The solution also would allow the college IT team to more easily manage the network.

Collaborating closely with Pierce College and HPE Aruba personnel, Burwood experts created a phased strategy for implementing the new switches in order to add the new security cameras to the College network and give the IT team the ability to expand the College WiFi. To avoid any classroom disruption, the project team worked together during after-hours and maintenance windows. The phased implementation ensured that the team could bring the new switches online alongside the legacy switches to ensure that the network operated smoothly.

The Outcome: A modern foundation to support today’s tech-driven student experience

Equipped with high-performance, high-capacity network switches, Pierce College became the first college in its district to roll out updated video cameras—providing advanced security for faculty, staff, and students and paving the way for other schools to modernize college security. Students and faculty alike are now benefiting from access to college-wide fast, reliable WiFi that enables fast transfers of even large volumes of data.

Using Aruba’s robust network analytics engine, the IT team can constantly monitor and analyze network performance to prevent disruptions or any changes in performance.

The Burwood Group and HPE teams took the time to really understand our priorities, working closely with us to bring to life a high-performance, yet reasonably priced switch solution. Today, Pierce College has the strong foundation we need to deliver a more connected, secure, and modern college learning environment for our students and faculty alike.”
— Mark Henderson, IT Manager, Pierce College