• Goal

    Ensuring Seamless Network Coverage and Prioritised Web access for users. Furthermore, the project aims to guarantee a dependable and uninterrupted connection for essential services such as one-to-one counselling.

  • Managed Connectivity

    Total connectivity solution provided by Kestrel IT along with configuration and proactive remote network management.

  • Solution Criteria

    The main criteria were affordability and long-term cost benefits. The evaluation revealed that TP-Link offers a financially advantageous option as it does not entail any annual licensing costs. This makes it a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Implementation Partner


    Background - Manchester Youth Zone

    For young people in north Manchester, Manchester Youth Zone (MYZ) in Harpurhey levels the playing field for them to make their next move, opening opportunities to build skills and confidence and prove what they can do. It offers sports, activities, workshops and careers advice to more than 2,000, eight to 25-year-olds every year-in MYZ's own words, it's somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. Catrin Aherne is Head of People and Shared Services at MYZ, responsible for staff and facilities throughout the centre. Lewis Blackburn is Managing Director at Kestrel IT Support Services, MYZ's trusted partner for all their IT equipment and services.

  • The Challenge

    Catrin says, "It's 11 years since MYZ opened this building. In that time, we've expanded what we offer to young people, and we're always adding new activities. As well as youth club style sessions, we provide counselling, careers advice and STEM support. Many students use our hub to do their homework and school projects. Wi-Fi is vital for them to connect their own laptops and devices."

    Harpurhey is one of the UK's most deprived areas. Many of the centre's users lack consistent web access at home and may not have mobile credit for online activities, so they come to connect for social and entertainment purposes as well as to study and develop their skills. Afterschool and in the evenings, up to 200 young people are typically on-site, all using the MYZ Wi-Fi.


"Like all charities, we need to extract maximum value from our budget. TP-LINK's Wi-Fi equipment has achieved that for us along with excellent, reliable performance and high speeds."

Catrin Aherne,

Head of People and Shared Services, Manchester Youth Zone


    Seamless Wi-Fi for Planning, Delivery and Management

    "We host partner organisations who deliver some of our activities. They need their own secure network access," Catrin adds. The centre's staff also rely on Wi-Fi to plan and deliver sessions as well as for day-to-day management, communication, and administration. "Part of our service is one-to-one counselling and support using a special iPad app. We can have four different staff members doing these at once, so it's vital that there are no glitches in connection."

    The original Wi-Fi infrastructure, installed when MYZ launched, was dated, slow and did not cover every part of the building. Catrin and the team sought advice from Lewis about how to improve the Wi-Fi for all their users.

  • The Solution - More Access Points, Better Coverage Faster Speeds

    "We needed something more modern and manageable," says Lewis. "As a charity, every penny counts, so I wanted to find a solution that would deliver excellent value and performance for MYZ without an expensive annual licensing agreement."

    TP-LINK's competitive pricing and fully featured spec attracted Lewis' attention. "I recommended replacing the entire existing Wi-Fi infrastructure with a mesh of TP-LINK access points, a router and a switch. I mapped the coverage in the building and suggested replacing five existing access points with 11 new ones."


Total Cloud Managed Network


    Seamless Installation

    Setting up the new system was straightforward. "All the set-up is done through a simple GUI. Anyone with basic networking knowledge could use it," Lewis says. His team put in new wiring for the additional access points and made sure they were all robustly located in high up positions, because MYZ is a busy building with lots of active people moving around in it.

    "We swapped the access points one by one," says Lewis. "With some systems you have to provision away from site, but I just took everything with me and configured it there and then. Everything was up and running out of the box on the same day. TP-LINK's access points automatically provision-I just had to apply the right policies to make it work. It’s all very easy."

  • Efficient Network Setup

    Lewis set up Wi-Fi networks for MYZ's staff and centre users with separate VLANs for partner organisations in the building, to keep data separate and access secure. He manages the Wi-Fi network remotely using the TP-LINK Omada portal.


Seamless                                  Wi-Fi          


    The Benefits - Fast, Reliable and Trusted Wi-Fi for More Users

    "The Wi-Fi works very well throughout the building now," says Catrin. "All our users are catered for. We're very glad to have avoided an annual license fee which could have diverted precious funds from our frontline services."

    Lewis agrees: "Since choosing TP-LINK for MYZ, I've recommended and installed it for many other clients who also want to avoid the annual cost of other brands. This is flexible-you can extend the network and change it without having to set up a new agreement. The lifetime warranty is a good benefit too-it gives reassurance to both the customer and the reseller. I've never had to use it though, as the TP-LINK equipment has been 100% reliable."

  • Optimised Connectivity

    Catrin is very satisfied with the TP-LINK equipment and the recommendation and service provided by Lewis and the team at Kestrel. "It's reassuring that our trusted partner recommends TP-LINK. The remote support means if anything goes wrong Lewis can respond instantly-although he's often on-site anyway, it's good to know he doesn't need to be and can monitor our network wherever he is."

    With a fast and reliable TP-LINK Wi-Fi network, Catrin can guarantee all MYZ's customers, staff and partners bandwidth for their online activities at any time. " I've also been able to invite our sponsors to hire workspace in our building for meetings and events-the Wi-Fi is now as good here as in their commercial offices," she says. “This is a great source of extra revenue for our charity."


"This new Wi-Fi 6 hardware is so much better than what MYZ had before. It runs faster and devices connect more quickly, improving the user experience. The TP-LINK kit does its job and it does it properly!"

Lewis Blackburn,

Managing Director, Kestrel IT Support Services

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