Overhaul, “rip-and-replace”, update, refresh. Do all of these words make you immediately exhausted?
These are buzz words that are often the start of a very complicated and long process that a majority of our schools go through or are going through when creating a new modern school wireless network.
There are many phases to the process and even more potential obstacles you’ll have to overcome depending on where your school is starting from.
We all love the idea of supporting BYOD or giving each student and teacher an iPad to use in the classroom, but the reality is actually doing so can be daunting.
However, no school should have to get left behind in the wireless stone-age, so we have come up with a list of tips when upgrading your school’s wifi network that will ensure your new wireless network will not only support your goals today but grow with you for tomorrow.
Before you can even start thinking about a new school wireless network you have to establish a clear reason why you need one. In the office we have a common saying for this called “the application drives the infrastructure”.
This means what you are trying to accomplish, be it BYOD, 1:1, common core, online testing or using iPads, all or any of these will determine what kind of network you need to effectively support your specific application(s).
If you are unsure what you are trying to do or your goals are very general, it will become that much harder to create the wireless network you want and more importantly need. In all probability you’ll be right back where you are now, with an under-performing network that needs updated again.
Analyze Your Current Network
Your current network offers valuable insights into what exactly will need to be done to successfully update or in a worst case scenario completely replace your school wifi network.
There are many different types of assessments that can be done, including:
- Mobility Assessments – analyzes your current wireless networking and wired infrastructure as well as how you manage performance.
- Security Assessments – ensures you are adhering to various compliance requirements, provides visibility into the activities happening on your network while identifying where you have risks.
- Application Performance Testing – simulates and allows you to experience the same things your users are experiencing while also benchmarking performance so you can identify if any problems you are facing are the wireless, the devices or the applications.
Related Article | "Unique Answer to Solving Your WiFi Performance Problems for Good"
Planning Your Network to Grow
Whether you’re performing a simple network update or a massive “rip and replace” of your entire system, it can be very difficult to predict exactly what your needs will be for both the short and long term, especially for things like bandwidth.
It takes a lot of research and up-front planning to understand your goals and eventually choosing the right solutions to support them.
The best place to start is with a proper a wireless site-survey. Using both predictive and onsite-site-surveys you can be sure your design is right ahead of time. However, don’t forget to test your network after it’s installed to make sure it’s running as it should.
Related Article | "Stop Calling a Site Survey a Wireless Network Design"
Also remember to work with a wireless service provider who has experience and isn’t out to just sell you a bunch of AP’s, your network will be doomed from the start.
In the end it’s important to understand that both technology and our user’s demands for it are increasing at an exponential rate, faster than are new networks can even be put in place. This means that above all else you need to plan, plan and plan again, ensuring your design ahead of time is perfectly matched to support your goals today and robust enough to grow with you for tomorrow.
As a wireless service provider, SecurEdge Networks has helped hundreds of schools to analyze, design, deploy and support secure wireless networks. If you have any questions about your next wireless refresh or would like us to analyze your current network simply contact us here!