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Parramatta CEO pilots Wi-Fi computer network access

Sydney's Diocese of Parramatta Catholic Education Office has recently completed a pilot project which involved deploying one Wi-Fi access point into the staff rooms of 80 schools, with plans to develop an "out-of-the-box" standard which the schools can use to extend their networks.

The project was reported this week in the Computerworld industry magazine. Parramatta CEO IT infrastructure manager Shane Wharton took the opportunity to warn of the pitfalls involved in dealing with unscrupulous companies with dubious expertise that are pitching for business.

"We put out a simple RFP asking 'what scenario would you give us?'," Wharton said. "Two [proposals] were so nebulous we told them to go back." Wharton said the problems centred on both companies' approach to the diocese's requirements.

"With the security framework, one company wanted to keep their solution secret," he said. "I think the other company was trying to gouge us for money by preparing a document wrapped up in mumbo jumbo."

Wharton said he believes there are a lot of sharks in the industry offering wireless implementation services but few know how to offer - or price - it appropriately.

"[Devise] an implementation plan that is right for you and you need to know what you want," he said. "Suppliers will sell you what they want to sell you and not what you need."

Wharton also advises taking the time to make a decision about who you want to work with.

"Pick a level of service you need and don't over-engineer it for your situation," he said. "Also, get a site audit done. We got a huge price range for the site audit and one company wanted $3500 just for an audit."

'Sharks' circle as wireless wave builds (Computerworld 29/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta

Experienced Educator Appointed To New Coast College (Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane 24/3/05)
Catholic schools' enrolment drops again (Associated Press/CNN 30/3/05)
New school opens in Condobolin (ABC News 30/3/05)
Multi-million dollar boost to schools (Catholic Voice April 2005)

32 Apr 2005