Time Warner Cable Business Class Provides School District with Fiber Connectivity

February 2013 | Racine, Wisconsin


The Racine Unified School District (RUSD), located in southeastern Wisconsin, includes city, suburban and rural areas serving more than 20,000 students in 21 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools. Sharing information between facilities is critical to its operation, but like many school districts around the country, RUSD was grappling with an aging network infrastructure.



RUSD’s network was not keeping up with the communications needs of the schools, nor was it providing an efficient communications system for the district’s administrators, teachers and staff. In addition to the data-sharing and Internet needs, RUSD’s voice traffic between schools and the administration building were being routed over traditional shared T1.5 circuits and required additional circuitry and hardware at each end to increase the bandwidth.

The school district’s goal was to replace the existing expensive and inflexible telecommunications network with a solution that would easily seek to be able to accommodate increased traffic for data and handle voice traffic. RUSD needed a network redesign that would connect all of their 31 schools and provide a framework for the future.

After reviewing and researching all of the options, RUSD decided to bypass the traditional telecommunications company and elected to work with Time Warner Cable Business Class.








RUSD called on Time Warner Cable to create a new network. After evaluating the available options, TWC proposed an Optical Ethernet solution called Dedicated Access Service (DAS). This service would connect each of the RUSD sites via fiber optic cable to Time Warner Cable’s core network switches, offering a more cost effective and reliable alternative to traditional private lines.

This allowed Time Warner Cable to provide up to 100 Mbps to each site sharing voice,data and Internet over the same physical fiber optic link. It also offered the added advantage of knowing all data files, at any given time, could be quickly backed up at most sites.

RUSD chose to configure their network as a hub-and-spoke with the administration building acting as the centralized hub for all voice and data traffic. Voice and data traffic now travels between the schools and the administration building over their own private fiber optic network. Time Warner Cable configured the network for Voice over Time Division Multiplexing (TDM), which allows RUSD to use their existing telephone equipment including TDM interfaces. Because the network is Optical Ethernet, the capability exists for RUSD to reconfigure their network to allow each site to connect to every other site at no additional cost.

RUSD chose Time Warner Cable because of the flexibility of the system and the capability to scale bandwidth as needed in a cost effective manner.

“Through this solution, we are able to remotely reconfigure the network ‘on the fly’ to change bandwidth or add applications,” said Dan Conrad, Vice President of Time Warner Cable Business Class – Wisconsin Division. “Time Warner Cable was able to offer the flexibility at a cost-effective price that best suited RUSD’s needs.



RUSD is extremely satisfied with the installation and continues to realize the substantial benefits. The high-bandwidth Internet access allows students from all of the school’s computer labs to browse the Internet without effecting other applications. Teachers, administrators and staff now have the ability to pick up the phone in one school, dial a simple extension and speak to another school official on the other side of town.

“With existing fiber we can scale from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps with no change in our infrastructure,” said Dennis Barkow, Director of Information Systems, Racine Unified School District. “High speed Internet services have given us the capability to use Internet applications in our everyday classroom activities.”


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