Wireless technology continues to improve. There are those, however, who wonder why you need anything better than what you already have? If something is working “well enough”, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t look into the potential of something more efficient.
The benefits may surprise you. These days, 802.11ac is an excellent example of what the latest wireless network technology has to offer. Instead of waiting for problems to arise, or settling for the minor ones you might have—be proactive and see how 802.11ac can keep you ahead of your school’s growing wireless demand.
What does it all mean?
School campuses are a hub of wireless connectivity. They are dense with mobile activity where students, faculty and visitors alike are using their devices to connect to the wireless network all at the same time. The necessity to support those connections is more important than ever. Imagine all the students of a class trying to access their webinar or video at the same time—it’s a requirement, and therefore essential for being able to get work done.
Although existing multiple access points assist the situation, it does not replace cutting-edge hardware that can put you ahead of the curve. While the technical jargon can be a bit confusing—it boils down to this: 802.11ac offers faster speeds to its users.
At 5GHz it provides 13 channels, which means less wait time and congestion. It has a better range and capacity as well. With devices that operate with a limited number of antennas, 802.11ac is particularly useful. It supports multiple concurrent downlink transmissions (called multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output or MU-MIMO).
Related Article | "7 Things to Know About 802.11ac and Your School Wireless Network"
The Preemptive Strike
Many campuses are starting to operate on the assumption that the need for a school wireless network that can support thousands of users is only going to increase exponentially. Meaning five years from now there will only be more people trying to connect to your campus wifi.
We haven’t even included the applications they will be running yet either which will only challenge the network further. Think of it in terms of high traffic areas—dorms, libraries, student unions. Then think about all of the devices that are being used, including smart TVs, gaming systems, smartphones, tablets and laptops.
By introducing 802.11ac now, you’re preparing for the future—or future-proofing. You’re getting ready for that growth so you don’t have to deal with it as things get more challenging and it becomes harder for your campus Wi-Fi to keep-up. It’s making sure the network can handle it when a professor asks 400 students to take out their devices (all different in most cases) to take a quiz.
Redesigning Over Time
The access points for 802.11ac don’t have to happen overnight. Schools can create a game plan. They can start with the busiest areas before moving on to the next, eventually transitioning the whole campus. Implementing the technology into the priority spaces can occur over each school’s personal timeline. Some may need years—which is why it is beneficial to begin sooner than later. Upgrading will prevent getting too far behind in the technology curve, something that’s crucial in today’s connected society.
Getting on Board
Schools that have already made the transition are seeing the rewards. The stability of the wireless network is improved, interference is avoided, and the system is secure and reliable.
The best course of action for a school to take is to open a discussion of what their needs are, or what demand or necessity they might see in the future. Plus, as more students and faculty have 802.11ac-compatible devices, there will be greater improvement for those users with the stronger campus Wi-Fi network.
Planning for the future is an essential part of success. Having the technology in place simply means you can add to it, rather than have to go through a major transition while you’re dealing with an explosion of need. Instead, you'll already have an everyday tool that's becoming just as important as books and classrooms.
At SecurEdge we've supported hundreds of schools as they move towards secure mobility. If you have any questions about upgrading your current wireless network to the latest standard (802.11ac) or would like an analysis of your network, simply contact us here!