Derby College preps UK students for work with Experience-First Network

Students who want to pursue an apprenticeship, study for their A Levels, or develop specialized skills to meet new T-Level qualifications can further their ambitions at Derby College. The college, with 28,000 learners, is among the largest in England.

To support its educational, social, and cultural roles in the Derbyshire County community, Derby College relies on an Experience-First Network from Juniper.


Company Derby College Group
Industry Education
Products used Wireless (Wi-Fi) AssuranceWired AssuranceAP43EX3400EX2300
Region EMEA
Derby College Group Image
Customer Success At-a-glance


11 days for 1 person to deploy all-new wired network on 4 campuses


28,000 students rely on the campus network


£13m plan to help create a highly advanced workforce schooled in Industry 4.0 manufacturing technologies and principles


Building a connected campus for further education

“Our biggest pain point with our campus switching environment was the manageability,” says Talan Westby, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Derby College. “I do most of the network troubleshooting, and I needed something I could dive in and out of to analyze what’s happening.”

Derby College already used Juniper wireless LANs on campus, having been an early adopter of Mist solutions. The institution had firsthand experience that Juniper wireless, driven by Mist AI, delivered optimized user experiences and streamlined network operations.

But the infrastructure team had no experience with Juniper switching.

“The thing that sold us on Juniper was the integration of the wired and wireless networks with the ability to have a single pane of glass for troubleshooting and management,” says Matt Peacock, IT infrastructure manager at Derby College. “We can take one look at the Mist dashboard and see if both the wired and wireless networks are good.” 

Derby College Challenge

One person, 11 working days, four campuses

“I did the deployment alone,” says Talan. “I was apprehensive at first, but I got through it all in less than two weeks.”

Progress was swift. “I spent a day and a half configurating the system/devices within the Mist platform and two days pre-deployment to get the switches up and running,” he says.

Then Talan ran around Derby’s four main campuses installing access switches. “Carrying 15 kilo boxes to one of our campuses two miles away was the biggest challenge,” says Talan.

The Juniper wired network was deployed in 11 working days. “With a different vendor, we would have been working for six weeks over the summer,” he says.

In addition to Juniper Access Points and Juniper EX Series switches, Derby College relies on Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance and Juniper Mist Wired Assurance for automated network operations, including event correlation, root-cause identification, and proactive anomaly detection. The college reports that these tools have improved user experiences and streamlined IT operations. 

Derby College Solution

AI-driven networking keeps the focus on learning

The AI-driven network from Juniper delivers a better campus experience for students, faculty, and visitors. Whether interests lie in brickwork or baking, animal care or access to an advanced degree, Derby College offers students a path to a bright, prosperous future.

“The network upgrade enables better hybrid learning,” says Matt. “Most people are back in the classrooms, but some are still online, and teachers can address both scenarios.”

With Mist AI, the IT team has the visibility and data to resolve issues quickly. “Juniper has massively increased our ability to troubleshoot,” says Matt. “With Mist AI, we can see what’s happening and get recommendations for automating fixes/problem mitigation to cut way down on time to resolution.” 

Derby College Outcome
“Our team is small, and we can’t afford to be specialists. With Juniper, we have a platform that does a lot of the work for us. Even if a team member doesn’t have a lot of network skills, they can look at the Mist portal and be pointed in the right direction. That’s invaluable.”
Matt Peacock IT Infrastructure Manager, Derby College

Published January 2022