This year has been a big year to say the least, especially when it talking about school wireless networks.
Whether it was E-Rate 2.0 or deploying 802.11ac there were a lot of big takeaways in 2014 that schools large and small should take with them going into 2015.
From my prospective working at a wifi service provider, there’s a lot that I learned from a design, deployment and strategy side of things that will help your school wireless network go to the next level this coming year.
Here are the 5 most important lessons I learned about K-12 wireless networks in 2014, and how you can use them to maximize your wifi network in 2015.
The Application Drives the Infrastructure
If there’s one thing I heard more than anything else this year it was certainly this. Here at SecurEdge WiFi, it’s probably the saying of the year, the application, or what you’re actually trying to do most certainly drives your infrastructure, or what you need to make your ideas come to life.
For your school’s WLAN to be successful in 2015 it has to be planned and designed specifically for what you are trying to accomplish. From having interactive classrooms, BYOD, integrating iPads, or just streaming video understanding what your goals are will allow you to choose the right strategy and ultimately design and deploy the right network to support it.
One of the biggest possible game-changers for 2015 was the announcement of major updates to the E-Rate program. Dubbed E-Rate 2.0, public and non-profit K-12 schools will now have the ability to use $3.9 Billion dollars in government funding to update their wireless networks or (internal connections).
It’s really remarkable how much more funding will be available over the next 2 years or so specifically for wireless. Every school or school district should be planning on trying to take advantage of these updates.
Even if you have recently updated your network you can still find value out of these massive discounts, and of course if you’re a school need considerable updates, here’s your chance to take your network to the level at a fraction of the cost.
E-Rate 2.0 includes a vast variety of possible updates to your network that you can read more about here. The application process can be tricky and lengthy so we suggest getting started as soon as possible.
With technology (especially wireless) expanding at an incredible rate the only way to ensure your network is at or above standard is with extensive planning and constant testing. Today’s school wifi networks are more complex than ever and in environments where devices move around when things go wrong it can be difficult to diagnose and fix.
With solutions like application performance testing and network assessments you can understand how your network is performing against the standard and make the right corrections where you need them.
You can learn more about application performance testing and how it can benefit your school’s WLAN here.
Today’s school IT departments tend to be small, sometimes as small as one person. When you think about today’s wireless environments it’s easy to see how difficult it can be at times to support your entire network effectively and efficiently. The good news is there are tools and companies out there that can help alleviate the strain.
With managed services schools can remain secure with security management, make sure their networks stay up to date with equipment and software monitoring and replacement as well as help with analyzing your current network to make suggestions for better performance.
Managed services offer a vast variety of support solutions allowing schools of any size to operate at the highest levels.
There were many other technical advancements made this year on the product side and as an industry but as far as school wireless networks go, these were the 4 biggest lessons I kept coming back to in 2014 and believe will continue to have the greatest impact in 2015.
At SecurEdge we’ve helped hundreds of schools test, design, deploy and manage their wireless networks. If you have any questions about how we can analyze and optimize your current or next wireless network simply contact us here!