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BYOD K-12: Bring Your Own Device Questions to Ask to Avoid Problems

Written by Philip Wegner Philip Wegner | February 29, 2012

This morning THE Journal, a publication that focuses on technology trends in K-12 Schools interviewed me to talk about the challenges with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon in schools today.

The idea of the article (coming in March) is to provide some direction to IT Directors of schools both large and small on what pitfalls to avoid when implementing BYOD solutions and help with determining what wireless and security infrastructure is needed to support it. This question I thought might be helpful for me to expand on and post here. I’ve broken out the questions by category.

BYOD in school

THE Journal Question:

What are some key questions that school district IT leaders should ask wireless networking vendors about their solutions?

SecurEdge Answer (Expanded):

Capacity and Performance

  • How big does the wireless network solution scale?

  • How does the system handle high capacity areas such as lecture halls, cafeterias, etc.?

  • Does the system have support for both indoor and outdoor wireless coverage from one management platform?

  • Does the system have the ability to prioritize certain types of traffic or applications?

  • Can the system load balance devices across access points?

  • How does the system react if an access point fails?

  • Does the system have the ability to utilize both 2.4hz and 5Ghz?

Wireless Network Security

BYOD in school

  • Does the wireless solution have the ability to segment traffic by user groups? (i.e. students, faculty, guests)
  • Does the system integrate with directory services?
  • Is wireless security built in or is it is a separate system?
  • Does the system have the ability to identify and shut down rogue access points?
  • Does the system allow the ability to set and enforce a policies based on the types of wireless devices that are connecting? (i.e. iPads can connect, but iPhones cannot)
  • Does the system have a registration process for the devices that the school doesn’t own (BYOD)?
  • Does the system provide or have the ability to integrate with application layer filtering?
  • How does the wireless system enforce school security policies to control the behavior of the users and devices?

Wireless Network Management

  • How do I troubleshoot issues with wireless users and connectivity?
  • Does the system provide real time views of the RF environment?
  • Does the system allow you to view of the device type, user name, and location of the user?
  • Does the system provide trending analysis of the system? (i.e. access points that are hitting their max capacity or device type trends)
  • Can the system be managed and monitored with one interface?

BYOD wireless network security

Wireless Network Warranty and Support

  • How often should the system be updated?
  • How are system upgrades handled?
  • What is the warranty on the access points?
  • What is the warranty on the wireless controller (if applicable)?
  • How quickly can the system be restored if it fails? How?
  • What is the wireless solution provider’s support process?

The mobile bring your own device (BYOD) era is just beginning and IT administrators are being asked to react quickly. All of these are important questions that should be addressed when coming up with your wireless network solution. 

It is important to remember that if you do not welcome outside devices securely on your network, there is a good chance they will end up on the network anyway, but unsecured. If you’re looking for a secure wireless solution or you need help managing your current system Contact Us for a free consultation. We’ve also got some great FREE resources you can download like our wireless design kit.

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