The upsurge of mobile learning in school wireless networks across the world should come as no surprise. Of course today’s tech-savvy students prefer learning with mobile devices and technology rather than outdated textbooks. With the federal government’s push for the use of digital textbooks by 2017, the momentum will only be enhanced.
One popular trend among schools is implementing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Many schools are going the BYOD route, where students and educators can bring mobile devices like iPads, Kindle, laptops, etc. into the classroom for interactive curriculum. BYOD offers a ton of benefits to students, but it can also place new pressures on school WLANs. To help combat that issue, here are the top 10 things you should consider when choosing a WLAN to support BYOD on your school wireless network.
Recognize wireless coverage requirements.
You need strong connectivity to support a high volume of mobile devices. Indoor as well as outdoor use must be considered since there is often a demand for wi-fi outdoors at stadiums, parking areas, etc. Make sure you keep a consistent indoor and outdoor architecture to keep your users happy and simplify management.
Upgrade to 802.11n Wi-Fi.
With BYOD definitely consider going with 802.11n. It supports more users and it is faster. You will need the increased bandwidth for all those tablets viewing video and multimedia which are serious bandwidth hogs.
Consider your schools requirements over the next five years. Think about how extensively students and teachers will be using these mobile devices and how many devices will be on your network. You want to always consider the future to create a strategic plan for your BYOD implementation.
Plan for guest access.
You must ensure that each student, teacher, substitute teacher, and parent has the right access privileges based on who they are and what device they have, while also giving you a record of who was on your network for compliance requirements. You can start by defining a BYOD policy that outlines groups of users and access policies per device type.
Identify what applications the network will support.
If the learning experience is disrupted by an unreliable network or video delays you will end up losing the attention of your students and wasting time. You need a solution that provides priority traffic handling and bandwidth management to make sure teachers educational apps aren’t getting disrupted by something like a student in the restroom watching Netflix.
Strong WLAN security is a MUST.
Protecting the wireless infrastructure as well as protecting the welfare of students is a major concern for schools implementing a BYOD program. Integrated web filters can make sure inappropriate web content, malware, and botnets don’t get on the network, regardless of application, protocol, port or device. You also want strong authentication and encryption, and also enforce role-based access controls.
Simplify things with centralized management.
Schools need a WLAN that’s easy to manage and configure, even across multiple campuses, from a central location. Combing bandwidth management, WAN optimization, and application acceleration into a single network appliance for centralized management will ease a lot of burden on the IT staff.
Hopefully these tips will help you in choosing the best wireless network solution to implement BYOD at your school. Here a SecurEdge we are experts in designing and deploying the most secure and efficient school wireless networks. If your school is ready to update your school or campus Wi-Fi network or launch a BYOD program we are here to help. Feel free to contact us here with any questions or for a Free consultation. Good luck!