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  • One of London’s leading colleges prepares for the future with new Dell Networking solutions
  • Increased capacity and resiliency to support future projects such as Voice over IP (VoIP)
  • Dell Services availability and expertise throughout implementation of the core network switches eases workload on in-house IT team


City and Islington College
has deployed Dell Networking solutions to increase the capacity and resiliency of the College’s IT infrastructure and lay the foundations for other IT-based services. The new solutions will allow the College to better support its students and staff and expand IT offerings throughout its five academic centres.

With further education institutions like City and Islington College progressing towards digital environments, the ability to support and power online teaching, learning and communications is key to future success. Therefore, an IT infrastructure that is able to support this more digitalised learning is vital to ensuring that the College is competitive and can provide its students with the best level of learning possible.

Mark Jenkins, Head of ICT Services at City and Islington College, outlined the College’s needs: “We intend to move to Voice over IP and unified communications in the future and to prepare for this, we really needed to improve our network infrastructure. With this in mind, we chose to completely replace our incumbent Cisco core, distribution and access switches with a Dell collapsed core solution. The Dell solution was chosen due to its high performance following a competitive procurement exercise using the Janet ‘Routers and Switches’ framework.”

With approximately 12,000 students and around 1,000 staff, it was essential for the College to be able to overhaul its system without any downtime. The Dell Services team was able to implement 10 Dell Networking S4810 core switches with minimal downtime. Stuart Pass, senior technical architect, Dell UK noted the importance of this: “We were introducing our solutions into an existing network so it was critical that the infrastructure was compliant with what they already had in place to make the migration as easy and fluid as possible. It was essential that we were able to sit down with the team at City and Islington College, put together a detailed design for the deployment and ensure limited downtime.”

The new switches have laid the foundation for the planned future communications projects which will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of learning. The success of this implementation went beyond the performance of the switches to include the high level of service Dell was able to deliver. Jenkins noted, “Throughout the deployment, it felt like one project team working together rather than us versus Dell. It was really a round table in that we were working towards the same common goal and success. The project manager and network specialist were exceedingly helpful.”

By working with Dell, City and Islington College has been able to refresh its datacentre with Dell Networking solutions to prepare for the demands of a digital environment and supply its students with a top learning experience. The support offered by the Dell Services team made the transition simple and seamless by negating the need for extra IT training.

Additional Quotes
“We evaluated each supplier’s response to our Invitation to Quote against the Janet Routers and Switches framework. Our networking specialist, despite a long relationship with Cisco, was extremely impressed with the Dell offering so we chose to work with Dell to revamp our data center. Our student’s needs come first and we needed to be able to support them from an IT perspective.” – Mark Jenkins, Head of ICT Services at City and Islington College

“There is an increasing pressure on further education institutions to advance to a digital learning environment which requires a responsive, well maintained IT infrastructure. With funds being limited for many institutions, it is essential that the existing IT team is able to run an upgraded, innovative network without adding to their workload. That’s where we can help with our automated switches that free up the team’s time to work on other projects that directly impact student learning.” – Stuart Pass, Senior Technical Architect, Dell UK

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About Janet and Jisc
Jisc is an independent education charity, owned by the Association of Colleges (AoC), GuildHE and Universities UK (UUK). It provides UK higher education, further education and skills sectors support on the use of digital technologies. It provides advice, guidance and access to online collections through Jisc Collections and Janet Limited, which provides an academic telecommunications network infrastructure and digital content services for over 19 million users across the UK.

Jisc’s vision is to make the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world. It does this by enabling the education sector in the UK to perform at the forefront of international practice by exploiting fully the possibilities of modern digital empowerment, content and connectivity. For further information, please visit:

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