Brine Leas School and Sixth Form logo

Brine Leas School and Sixth Form

New Technology improves teaching in an outstanding school.

Brine Leas School and Sixth Form is situated in Nantwich, Cheshire. Brine Leas has numerous awards, including Arts mark Gold, Sainsbury’s School Games Mark (gold), Investor in People and is currently rated as Outstanding by Ofsted.  In addition considerable capital investment has transformed the school over the last 10 years.  Great resources do not necessarily mean excellent teaching and learning but they do help.

Ofsted logo

Since 2010, OpenIP have worked with the school and their IT staff to implement new and up to date technology facilities to boost teaching within the school for students, staff and visitors.

OpenIP have implemented a number of IT services within the school such as:

  • Modernisation of the major switches around the site, including wireless back up links
  • Building of the new D block ICT building (150 users)
  • Building of the 6th form £7.4 million build
  • New school wireless system
  • Full review and network audit

    Brine Leas School badge

Time for a Check Up

OpenIP have been with Brine Leas School every step of the way on a number of projects in enhancing the school’s IT services.  A full review of the network and an audit is essential for any organisation just as a person needs regular check-ups and our cars need a service, a network needs a health check to keep delivering performance and enhanced productivity.

OpenIP audited Brine Leas’ network and IT infrastructure to identify any problems that might be presented.  Some of the issues that can be identified by conducting a network audit and health check are:

  • Connectivity issues
  • Overworked Hardware
  • Viruses
  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Security breaches
  • Disaster Recovery issues.

Importance of being connected

Most organisations cannot run effectively or even at all if they do not have effective communications in place.  Part of the project at Brine Leas, was implementing a Ruckus Wireless system across the school for their Wi-Fi.  They required security, good coverage and connections that didn’t drop. The school also needed Wi-Fi to go to cover every inch of the site. OpenIP helped the IT staff with the installation of this to ensure that an excellent service was delivered and the right product was implemented into the school network.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi provides the technology that gives schools an economical wireless infrastructure which provides resilient and comprehensive coverage.   Brine Leas benefit from the following by using Ruckus Wireless:

  • Consistent, reliable connectivity
  • Up to four times the coverage and higher performance using fewer APs
  • The lowest cost of ownership
  • Support for standard 802.1x, WPA (PSK) and WPA-2 (AES) security, plus automatic wireless settings and encryption key security
  • Proven solutions to support BYOD, NAC, Mobile Device Management and other critical security management functions

We Love VMware

OpenIP think VMware is great and are advocates of using the software, especially in schools.  As schools are faced with reduced funding and rising costs, new technologies are driving change across academic institutions.   IT leaders in education are seeking ways to improve learning and meet the needs of diverse student, faculty and alumni populations while watching costs. To stretch budgets, you can extend the latest innovations to more students with VMware’s virtualization and cloud computing technologies. Virtualization helps academic institutions of all sizes reduce their capital and operating expenses while improving education.

  • Improve learning environments
  • Foster greater staff collaboration.
  • Support business-critical administrative services.
  • End-to-End Solutions
  • Reduce costs and increase server utilization through server consolidation.
  • Improve productivity, reduce risks and drive down costs with desktop virtualization.
  • Build a flexible, automated infrastructure and deliver services on demand with cloud computing.


The projects which have been completed with Open IP have all had a positive effect on teaching and learning within the school and allowed us to move forwards with our IT provision. Using Open IP’s knowledge and guidance we have delivered a large number of projects in a short time frame and with minimal disruption to classroom teaching. I have been delighted with the continued support and expertise which OpenIP provide.

Manchester High School for Girls logo

Manchester High School for Girls

SSL Portal VPN offers secure access for leading UK school

Manchester High School for Girls was founded in 1874 and today is one of the country’s leading girls’ schools, which in turn offers some of the best facilities and excellent teaching methods in a range of different subjects.  With around 1000 pupils from the age of four up to the age of eighteen, the school caters for a range of different needs.As the school aims to develop an understanding of the value of education within pupils; the latest teaching methods, remote access and ease of access to information is imperative at the school.  The online portal of information is secured in such a way so that upon log in, it provides different levels of access to students, teachers and administrative staff.Ease of access to information
Between OpenIP and Manchester High School for Girls, it was established that a secure, reliable and fast connection was needed without the need for full packaged software on each client.  The SSL VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts data to provide confidentiality, authentication and message integrity.  It was also identified that the school needed easy access to work and information.VPN’s based on Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol are an optimal solution for all businesses, because they do not require third party client software and are easier to support and maintain.Andy Starr, Managing Director of OpenIP explained “The school identified what they needed to help both students and pupils, and we suggested an SSL VPN with a 100MB circuit as a package that would be fully managed and was good value for money for the customer.”The solution was fully managed and implemented during the summer vacation, over an eight week period by OpenIP.  Mike Randall, ICT Director at Manchester High School for Girls stated that, “The implementation and management of the new internet connection and VPN has been excellent and carried out with minimal disruption. “Efficient and good value for money
OpenIP strive to provide the best solution for the best price to all of their customers.  Manchester High School for Girls along with OpenIP identified the problems that were occurring on the network, but by implementing and managing the internet connection and VPN this has helped overcome the problems in an efficient and cost effective manner.“OpenIP use their knowledge and expertise to offer excellent advice and hands on support when needed.  We benefit from informal chats, meetings and phone conversations, which allow us to substantiate our own opinions and implement the best solution” Mike Randall added.Over the last four years, OpenIP have developed a close relationship with the school and continue to provide technical support and advice so that the best quality service can established.  Mike Randall continued, “I thoroughly recommend their services.  We have implemented a number of recommendations made by OpenIP.”10/10 Customer Services
Every business strives to supply the best customer service and OpenIP is proud of the level of customer service it offers.  The customer service principles that have built the ethos of OpenIP are:*        Putting the needs of the customer first*        Conducting projects with minimal disruption to everyday work

*        Creatively thinking to supply the greatest and logical solution

Mike Randall explained that, “On a consultative basis, OpenIP have the experience and knowledge of network environments that helps them to tailor-make solutions for all ranges of businesses and organisations.  The support they provide is invaluable and all done in an informal and friendly manner.”

OpenIP designs, installs and supports a range of specialist communications solutions for customers including WAN, LAN, Voice, Data and mobile applications including bespoke software development and vast experience in PBX integration software.  The company has customers across the UK together with clients in France, Germany, China and the USA.

children working at Ribblesdale High School

Ribblesdale High School

Wireless, Firewall and Leased Lines for the Education Sector

Ribblesdale is situated in the market town of Clitheroe.  The school has a long and distinguished tradition, meeting the needs of many young people who have grown up, lived and appreciated the local area and contributed to its economy. Ribblesdale High School has high expectations of its students, its parents and itself. In recent years they have invested heavily in excellent teachers, up to date resources and the school’s facilities.

Since 2013, OpenIP have worked with the school and their IT staff to implement new and up to date technology facilities to enhance the teaching within the school for students, staff and visitors.  This is looking to be a long standing relationship as further work will be carried out at the school in summer 2014.

OpenIP have implemented a number of IT services within the school such as:

  • Installation of 10Gb Fibre links around the school
  • Ruckus Wireless Network for Wireless connections
  • 100Mb Leased Line Internet Connection
  • Overhaul of the Local Area Network
  • Installation of a SonicWALL Firewall

Secure and Scalable

These additions have benefited the school in a number of ways. As an example, every department in the school was operating  on one shared network and to improve performance and add a layer of security, OpenIP have partitioned off the network around the school.  This partitioning has been done using Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) and virtualisation with Hyper-V technology which provides multiple solutions for unifying services and security policies whilst maintaining high-availability, manageability, security, and scalability benefits.

There are a number of challenges that need to be looked at when partitioning networks and reasons why this needs to be done in schools such as Ribblesdale High School, which are detailed below:

  • Various levels of access privileges: Almost every school now needs solutions for granting different levels of access to students, vendors and teachers as well as employees on the LAN.
  • Regulatory compliance: Some schools may be required by law or rules to separate segments of the organisation.
  • Network simplification: The need for access control between different groups or departments has in the past required the building and management of separate physical networks, a task that is costly and difficult to manage.
  • Network services: A single network can be used for both isolated and shared services.

Why is Wireless so important?

The wireless network at the school has four separate systems, which allows people to bring their own devices and log onto the wireless without having an impact on the schools network.  The school agreed on the installation of a Ruckus Wireless Network as they needed to move up to higher-speed and more reliable Wi-Fi. They required security, good coverage and connections that don’t drop. They also needed Wi-Fi to go to cover every inch of the campus. As for most educational institutions, tighter budgets and busy IT staff make it difficult to implement such a service.  That is where OpenIP helped.

Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi provides the technology that gives schools an economical wireless infrastructure which provides resilient and comprehensive coverage. TheRuckus BeamFlex technology uses a high gain adaptive antenna array that monitors the environment and automatically finds the best signal path to each client.

With Ruckus, Ribblesdale benefit from the following:

  • Consistent, reliable connectivity
  • Up to four times the coverage and higher performance using fewer APs
  • The lowest cost of ownership
  • Support for standard 802.1x, WPA (PSK) and WPA-2 (AES) security, plus automatic wireless settings and encryption key security
  • Proven solutions to support BYOD, NAC, Mobile Device Management and other critical security management function

The Complete Package

No matter what size a school is, their network needs to be secure, which  is why a Dell SonicWALL firewall was selected.  Ribblesdale wanted to enhance network security and increase productivity.

Some of the services that the Dell SonicWALL can offer include: Gateway Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Intrusion Prevention, Application Intelligence and Control Service and Content Filtering Service.

Gateway Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Intrusion Prevention, and Application Intelligence and Control Service deliver intelligent, real-time network security protection against the latest threats, including viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, software vulnerabilities and other malicious code. Application Intelligence and Control provides granular control and real-time visualization of applications to guarantee bandwidth prioritisation and ensure maximum network security and productivity.

The Dell SonicWALL Web Content Filtering Service (CFS) addresses safety and security concerns by providing the controls to enforce internet use policies and block access to harmful and unproductive web content. CFS operates a dynamic rating and caching architecture that rates URLs, IP addresses and domains and then stores them locally on the firewall, reducing the response time to frequently visited sites to a fraction of a second.


Dan Porter, ICT Network Manager at Ribblesdale High School said the following about working with OpenIP.

“For the past year we have been working on a number of network updates with OpenIP. As a school we wanted to offer 1:1 computing to our pupils but soon realised our old network was struggling with the current 600 network-attached devices and major change was needed to support a further 1300 tablets. Working with OpenIP has made these updates and the transition as smooth as possible and has seen the school replace 9 fibre runs, over 30 network switches, 2 storage arrays, an internet connection, wireless network across 9 buildings and the migration of 20 production servers.

OpenIP have supported us throughout all of our major projects and have always gone the extra mile from sound advice trough to out-of-hours’ work when needed.

Our new internet line has seen speeds double from the council provided service and saved the school over ten thousand pounds a year, OpenIP installed and configured a new Firewall ensuring our network is both safe and flexible – allowing granular filter control that is accredited by CEOP.

OpenIP have installed and migrated our production servers in a live environment upgrading from Server 2003/2008 on VMWare ESXi 4 to Windows Server 2012 R2 running on Hyper-V hosts. Savings made on Licensing with this model allowed us to purchase a second HP StorageWorks array to offer a fully functioning failover site should the main comms room have any problems meaning our data is both highly available and safely duplicated across different buildings utilising fibre technology. We have current plans to expand our backup regime to store mission-critical databases and recovery libraries off-site in the OpenIP datacentre.

More recently we have upgraded our entire network infrastructure with OpenIP who after putting the project to tender beat other local and national IT contractors to replace our wireless network, fibre links and network switches. OpenIP re-designed our new network after carful consultation and site-visits ensuring bespoke systems such as security doors, tills, CCTV and phones would still run alongside traditional network devices. We now have a fully managed network utilising Cisco and HP technologies allowing consistent high-speed network access to 600 wired devices and 150 wireless devices with plans in the future to cater for 1300 Windows tablets.

OpenIP have supported me and my team throughout all work undertaken and offer advice and consultancy on all aspects of our network – the education sector often run enterprise scale networks on SME budgets and without our partnership with OpenIP our plans of offering 1:1 computing would have never been viable. I can and will recommend OpenIP to any school or business that is looking for an IT partner who will go above and beyond for every project – big or small.”

Missguided logo


Large International Fashion Retailer deploys Wireless Leased Line

Founded by Nitin Passi, Missguided launched as a fast fashion women’s e-tailer in 2009. It is now one of the fastest growing online retailers in the world and has quickly become an international fashion source offering the latest in trend-led clothing, shoes, and accessories to women across the globe.

Where do OpenIP come in?

They required OpenIP’s services in order to maintain maximum productivity and efficiency when running their business and dealing with their clients.  Due to the nature of their business, they are processing orders 24 hours a day and as they only sell online, they cannot afford for their website have any downtime due to their customers possibly taking their customer elsewhere.

They ran their business on a leased line, which was of clear importance to stay connected but if this line encountered any problems then they would not be able to operate effectively.  This is why they decided to use OpenIP and install a Wireless Leased Line.

Part of the service that we provided, was a full tidy of the servers and cabinet cabling.  The images below show how they looked before OpenIP tidied these up:

cabinet before cabling tidy    untidy cabinet at Missguided

After the re-cabling and tidy up, the cabinet looks safer and organised:

Cabinet tidy at Mssguided    Cabinet after Open IP tidy cables   Missguided network cabinet after cable tidy

What benefits does the Wireless Leased Line offer?

OpenIP Wireless Ethernet Premium offers customers Internet access with capacities from 1Mbps up to 2Gbps.   You can rest assured that the wireless final-mile delivery liberates customers from dependency on third-party fibre exchanges, offering secure connections to any number of sites based on a simple pricing structure.

There are a number of features with the OpenIP Wireless Ethernet Premium.  It is dedicated, symmetric and has fixed installation.  It can download and upload between 2Mb/s-1Gb/s; there is a 5-10 Working Day lead time and a four hour fix.

Key features:

  • 100% independence from third-party exchanges
  • 99.95% uptime guarantee
  • Small fixed installation fee that is not at risk of returning hidden excess construction charges
  • Site re-location flexibility
  • Unrivalled scalability

OpenIP Ltd circuits provide true 1:1 contention across all its connections and recognise the importance of security. As such, OpenIP guarantees the integrity of your data because of OpenIP’s use of proprietary infrastructure overlaid with encryption that prevents eavesdropping.

By using OpenIP and having a separate Wireless Leased Line; Missguided now have peace of mind that if anything should go wrong they have a backup line in place to ensure that the 24 hour operation they run will not be effected.


Medical supplies company

Medical Supplies Company

Who we helped

A British organization based in the North West of England providing essential medical supplies to hospitals and medical organisations including the NHS.

Originally their innovative products were only available to the UK market, but by expanding its reach via a network of specialised distributors their products are now sold worldwide.

What was the problem?

Expanding into international markets means rapid growth, with changes to online systems and greater demands on communication lines.

After experiencing poor connections and a lack of broadband capacity from one of the largest UK telecoms providers the business was struggling to operate effectively. Downtime from phones not working or the internet being offline was costing the business money and causing problems for customers.

They were also finding it increasingly frustrating dealing with poor customer service and slow response times.

How did we help?

Open IP took over the phone lines and broadband to ensure that they would have fast, reliable access to the internet and properly maintained phone lines with calls at competitive prices.

After finding out what they required now and in the future, we have upgraded their systems so they now have plenty of capacity for growth. The business can continue to expand without any compromises to their day-to-day functionality.

Excellent customer service and a fast response are vital for business continuity and our engineers are on hand to go on site quickly if assistance is required, or if problems do occur.


  • Fast, reliable connections allow staff to be more productive
  • Discounted lines and calls save money
  • Quick response times get business back up and running if problems occur