Building, maintaining, and enhancing the technologies that increase academic achievement for all students – this is the primary objective for Franklin County Board of Education’s IT department, serving students in Northwest Alabama. To support this goal, Franklin County schools require a high-performing, full featured network security solution, in addition to fast, reliable, and secure wireless access for students and staff. As a largely rural community, buildings with internet access are few and far between. IT department for FCBOE, estimates that roughly 80 percent of students do not have 

internet access within their home. This makes providing secure internet and Wi-Fi at the school – essential for project research and emerging learning aides – all the more critical. FCBOE offers Google classes in every one of the schools throughout their district, and has started deploying Google Chromebooks to support the curriculum, mandating the need for Wi-Fi access even further. Providing Wi-Fi is one thing, but keeping access secure is a much greater challenge. 




Choosing the platform for its all-in-one solution set and the ease with which policies can be established. The board has deployed numerous WatchGuard appliances in the many years since, currently utilizing an XTM 1525-RP. IT department has added a Security Suite subscription to the firewall, a collection of best in class security services that includes Intrusion Prevention Service, Application Control, Gateway Antivirus, spamBlocker, WebBlocker and Reputation Enabled Defense. A large fleet of AP200 wireless access points is deployed throughout FCBOE’s seven locations, offering the dependable, secure wireless access so essential to carry out daily operations within the schools. Dimension, WatchGuard’s cloud based logging and reporting tool, distills all wired and wireless network activity into key trends and events, providing valuable insight into student internet usage that may require a conversation or policy adjustment. 




By extending the best-in-class security services provided by the firewall appliances, the AP200s have dramatically improved the wireless environment throughout the school district. Having tried a variety of wireless APs from other vendors in the past, WatchGuard’s AP200s have been a game changer for FCBOE .The Gateway Wireless Controller, available through WatchGuard’s Fireware Web UI and WatchGuard System Manager, allows Tim to monitor the connection status and activity on all WatchGuard AP devices throughout the network, and has been particularly valuable. In Tim’s words, “We had a pretty large deployment of Brocade APs. As soon as I found out about the controller feature, it made me want to switch to WatchGuard. I think we ended up buying about 100 right off the bat. 

We found out that if we wanted a controller for Brocade, it would cost us about $60,000 – just on the controller! Not to mention those Brocade APs were costing us about twice as much. Reflecting on the central management afforded by WatchGuard’s operating system, Tim noted “I can use that one device to manage everything


With WatchGuard I can take care of everything from central management, from 

one place, and I’m good.”

Tim Burks, Network Administrator,

Franklin County Board of Education


CLIENT: Franklin County Board of Education

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 400 at 7 locations

INDUSTRY: Education 



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