St Mary MacKillop College in Canberra, Australia, upgrades their Allied Telesis network to a next generation solution.


St Mary MacKillop College Canberra, formerly known as MacKillop Catholic College, is a co-educational school for Years 7 - 12 students. It is located in the Tuggeranong Valley in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. The largest school in Canberra, the College operates under the governance of the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

In 2012, the College decided to upgrade their existing network infrastructure to include new, high performing switches.

The College had been an Allied Telesis customer for some time – they already had Allied Telesis equipment, which they had installed in 2007.

The College has two campuses, which are located five kilometres apart. Prior to this upgrade, the College had been managing their network as two separate, almost independent sites, which were connected via a 10Mbps microwave link. In order to improve their infrastructure management and reduce operational expenditure, they decided to consolidate and virtualize their two sites.

The upgrade rebuilt the network core using Allied Telesis SwitchBlade x8100 and x610 Series switches, bringing stability and enhanced performance, as well as a future-proof and scalable architecture.


The College’s main requirements for the new solution were to reduce costs, and improve the stability and performance of the network. Enhanced performance would allow faster network backups and data transfer, as well as improve the operation of the school’s digital telephony (VoIP) system. They also needed the ability to easily expand and upgrade the network in the future.

With a major goal of cost reduction – both the cost of the infrastructure itself, and the time cost for staff managing the environment – all services needed to be consolidated and hosted within the data center at one campus. The other campus data center was to be used for backup and as a Disaster Recovery (DR) site.


The College selected an Allied Telesis Switchblade x8112 chassis-based core switch for their primary data center core at the Wanniassa campus. The SwitchBlade x8112 provides up to 1.92Tbps switching capacity, for a high-performing solution that exceeds the requirements the College had for their virtualized server and storage environment. This powerful new network core guarantees access to information with dual control cards, dual power supplies, and line cards which are all hot-swappable to maximize uptime.

The Wanniassa campus and Isabella campus are now connected over the College’s new high-speed fiber link with 20Gbps bandwidth.


The support from Allied Telesis is incredible. Being able to access design assistance or technical support in a timely fashion, without the expense we would encounter with other vendors, is of immense value to us.

Mr. Sam Walton

Network Administrator,

St Mary Mackillop College

The Isabella campus has x610 Series switches in the core, which use Virtual Chassis Stacking (VCStack™) to create a single virtual unit. VCStack allows multiple switches to appear as a single virtual chassis. In normal operation, this virtual chassis acts as a single switch, simplifying management. VCStack and link aggregation provide a solution where network mirrored data center resources and edge switches are spread across the virtual chassis members, ensuring device and path resiliency, and uninterrupted access to information.


Increased performance

Today, the College has completely virtualized their environment, and can easily migrate services between their datacenters. The bandwidth provided by the fiber upgrade combined with the SwitchBlade x8112 chassis means classrooms of computers and laptops can be efficiently reimaged, regardless of their campus or location, which was impossible before.

Maximized uptime

The new network has increased stability and resilience with Allied Telesis SwitchBlade x8100 and x610 Series switches in the core infrastructure. The SwitchBlade x8112 has redundant power supplies and control cards to maximize system uptime. These, along with the line cards and fan tray, are all hot-swappable, so they can be replaced with no disruption to network availability. The x610 switches partner with the SwitchBlade x8112 core chassis to maximize network bandwidth and ensure access to online resources and applications.  


As well as enhanced reliability and performance, the College can now upgrade their network easily and without great expense, thanks to the flexibility of the SwitchBlade x8112. Additional line cards can be seamlessly added to the chassis with no network disruption to increase capacity, or add different connectivity options.

Similarly, additional x610 Series switches can be added to the VCStack to increase port density. These can even be pre-configured as part of the VCStack, for simple plug-and-play network expansion.

Outstanding support

The College faced some issues with cost, and time constraints, and knew that effective support was a necessity to ensure a smooth transition to a new high-performing network. Allied Telesis provided outstanding support in partnering with the College in their upgrade project.

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