Category: Case Study
Botho University is a leading African university offering bachelor degrees and graduate programs.
Internet bandwidth is a widely recognised challenge in Botswana with internet costs amongst the highest globally. While efforts are being made by government and public and private enterprise to overcome this challenge, it is still slow. In such an environment, Botho University has been at the forefront of adopting teaching and learning methodologies that are at par with the best in the world.
Usage of laptops, tablets and other digital devices by every student, access to online journals and other sources of content and research, online systems for day to day administrative tasks etc. all mean a major reliance the university’s technical infrastructure. It also means the need to manage every Mb of internet is crucial. Internet abuse is prevalent, and the University has always been at the forefront of trying out new ways to manage and minimise the same. In the past, several firewall solutions have been tried and tested but with limited success. The objective for the team managing the technical infrastructure at Botho University was to have the ability to respond directly to inappropriate behaviour rather than imposing a blanket ban on accessing content.
Firstly, this required a powerful reporting mechanism and secondly, the firewall needed to be able to integrate with Active Directory, in order that the reports would identify individual users on the system. In 2016, the technical team planned to implement an alternative solution that would enable them to provide an open and flexible approach to internet management for all consumers of internet bandwidth at the University.
“We didn’t want to block everything. We wanted to know exactly what was being consumed and downloaded, and by whom. Then we could respond appropriately.”
– SAMPATH KUMARV, TECHNICAL MANAGER, BOTHO UNIVERSITY
Botho University then started testing Linewize (now Family Zone School Manager), an internet management system specifically designed for the education sector. A one-month trial was implemented, and installation itself was simple. The Botho Technical Team installed the software image within a Virtual Machine (VM) on their own servers. They then simply piped their network traffic through the VM. Without waiting for any hardware to be shipped, a trial was up and running.
Throughout the trial period the Family Zone team responded promptly, notwithstanding the vast time difference between Botswana and New Zealand. Family Zone offered education specific features and visibility through a subscription service charged per student; a much more cost-effective solution. Taking this approach removed the expense and disruption of replacing the existing firewall.
The team at Botho University now have an internet management system that allows them to respond to any bandwidth issues within minutes. The system is set up to send them alerts when any abnormal activity is detected. This is ensuring a new level of stability across the network.
The team have a much better idea of the bandwidth consumption by users. The team follows established procedures where suspected abuse is promptly reported and the user’s rights on the network suspended until further investigation to prevent further abuse. Repeat offences result in action per the university’s regulations.
School Manager has also provided single sign-on due to the integration with Active Directory. Monitoring of user activity on the university’s official networks has become easier and the level of detail allows for appropriate measures to be taken. There is no one rule that fits all kinds of abuse and hence by being able to track users individually, repeated offenders can be identified and isolated. This has been the biggest advantage of using School Manager at Botho University. A lot more features have been requested by our technical team and these are eagerly awaited. Botho University believes in utilising all its systems to the maximum and deriving maximum value.
“Life before was tedious. This saves us so much time when we need to identify what or where the problem is on the network.”
– PUSO MBUPE, SENIOR TEAM LEADER, BOTHO UNIVERSITY
Botho University is one of the largest private tertiary education providers in Botswana. It provides international quality programmes in Information Technology (IT), Accounting, Engineering and various Business fields such as Hospitality and Tourism and Health Administration. Courses range from Certificates to Masters Degrees.
Botho University partners with international institutions such as NIIT in India and the OpenUniversity and Teesside University in the UK.
Botho University is committed to providing a quality educational experience, continually benchmarked on national and international academic standards to produce well-rounded, employable graduates for the global market.