Improved connectivity gives remote students best start

4-minute read
How James Cook University has leveraged business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet to help deliver world-class education.

As digital connectivity becomes more vital within education, organisations like James Cook University (JCU) have recognised the clear need for reliable and fast connections to support staff and students.

Even before the pandemic, education institutions had been seeking solutions to increase internet speeds to keep up with a highly competitive market.

Ready for a connectivity change, JCU engaged with service provider Aussie Broadband to create a unique, cost-effective and reliable solution leveraging business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet.* This has allowed it to deliver world-class education to its students, who participate in medical placements around Australia and need remote learning capabilities to maintain connection to their classes.

JCU has prioritised service availability, connectivity reliability, as well as increased bandwidth and scalability to enable it to continue delivering world-class education to its students across the country.§ 

World-class education and remaining connected

JCU is a world-class university, ranked in the top 300 globally and has its three main campus locations in Cairns, Townsville and Singapore. Its region spans across more than 600,000 square kilometres (which is more than 50 per cent of Queensland!)

Home to more than 21,000 students, JCU’s career-focused courses are designed to prepare graduates for the workforce by experiencing hands-on training and learning from leading industry professionals.

Students are at the heart of everything JCU does, and its philosophy is, “The better the learning experience, the better prepared our grads will be for a global environment and the outback environment we find our place in,” explains Sabina Knight, Director of Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health at James Cook University. 

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Professor Sabina Knight, Director of Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health at James Cook University

“We combine big thinking, good people, and smart technology.”

Given the importance of remote and modern learning, JCU recognises the importance of reliable connectivity† for its students to stay online and engaged.

This first-class approach to deliver an optimal learning experience requires state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, which includes improved video conferencing capabilities. 

Importance of connectivity for remote learning

JCU’s offering has a significant influence on remote and rural education, particularly for Australia’s healthcare sector. The student placement opportunities give students greater access to supervisors, teachers and clinicians, as well as exposure to areas of medicine and learning opportunities they wouldn’t get in metropolitan areas.
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This also means its sites rely heavily on remote teaching to stay in touch with students. If connections drop out, classes are cancelled and students miss out – which is why JCU invested in a more reliable fibre connection to support its multiple sites with Enterprise Ethernet (EE).

“Internet reliability had the potential to be a pain point and a reputational risk for the university,” says Jacob Backman, JCU Client Partner at Aussie Broadband.

“It could adversely affect the student learning experience and the staff’s ability to conduct research and do their job.”

Improving capabilities and finding the right solution

With the importance of video conferencing, and standards to deliver world-class education, Aussie Broadband knew JCU would be best serviced by an Enterprise Ethernet connection.

“The business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet (EE) solution offers JCU excellent reliability in remote locations, as well as stable voice and data services where its previous service struggled. EE services are also provisioned with enhanced service level support to quickly respond and restore fault conditions to keep organisations like JCU operating with minimal downtime,” says Jacob.

Because EE is highly scalable, Aussie Broadband can ramp up speeds and allocated bandwidth at any time if the University learns its growth is outstripping its current speed plan (this can grow with them right up to speeds of 1GB). 

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Right now, Aussie Broadband has JCU on a symmetrical upload/download speed of 250/250 – which was increased from an original 50/50 as it learned about the needs of its sites. By upgrading its network’s symmetrical upload and download capability, this has also allowed JCU to seek further growth opportunities for the business through more overseas customers.

Aussie Broadband has been able to deliver a reliable solution fit for a world-class university. 

Important Information

* Terms and Conditions apply. See nbn’s website for important information on business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet | nbn (nbnco.com.au)

nbn is very happy with James Cook University’s experience with the nbn™ network. Of course, experiences may vary. An end customer’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside nbn’s control like equipment quality, software, broadband plan, signal reception and how your service provider designs its network.

Regardless of the retail service you purchase, the actual wholesale speeds delivered by the business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet product will be no more than 952Mbps due to equipment and network limitations. An end customer’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on some factors outside our control (like their equipment quality, software, and how their retail service provider designs its network). If your service provider has not selected the 'Class of Service – High', the speeds you experience may be affected by contention on the nbn™ network, particularly in busy periods.

§ business nbn™ Enterprise Ethernet is only available in the nbn™ Fixed Line network footprint and at limited premises served by the nbn™ Fixed Wireless and Satellite networks. Costs may apply; customers should contact their preferred service provider to ask about availability and any fees and charges that may be applicable.