Schools across the country are realizing the value of mobile devices as great learning tools and already have or plan to implement a BYOD (bring your own device) program, supply their students with iPads through special funding, or have some other plan to bring mobile devices to education.
Regardless of how the school brings these mobile devices to the students, the benefits of them are clear. They can enrich learning and collaboration among students and teachers and get students excited about learning. See 10 pros of BYOD in school wireless networks or Best Technology in the classroom is Mobile Devices for more information of the benefits of mobile devices on school wireless networks.
Problem: All these great mobile devices entering the school wireless network create enormous pressure to deliver consistent network performance to meet the diverse needs of students, faculty, and staff. Many teachers may begin to complain about their slow or inconsistent access to their online assessments, streaming educational content, etc.
Teachers and students are using up a lot of bandwidth with rich media. Institutions must also deal with recreational traffic like Netflix and YouTube that threatens to overrun the network.
Allot's Mobile Trends Report says video streaming continued to show substantial growth with an 88 percent increase, and remains the single leading application taking up bandwidth, accounting for 42 percent of all mobile bandwidth. This reports was for the second half of 2011, so I’m sure the numbers today are even higher and will only continue to increase.
Solution: The issue that is making your network sluggish is all the rich multimedia being used on all these mobile devices. The solution isn’t to ban the devices; they would show up anyways, it is WAN optimization, also known as WAN acceleration.
WAN optimization is used to maximize the efficiency of data flow through a wide area network (WAN). For schools, the goal of optimization is to accelerate the speed of access to important educational applications like online assessments, teacher podcasts, and learning apps or programs. With the correct bandwidth management solution, schools and universities can monitor, control, and optimize their WANs so that students, teachers, and staff experience consistent network access.
Schools can implement policies to limit or restrict usage so that leisurely, entertainment traffic such as Netflix and Facebook doesn’t hinder network performance. Schools can gain visibility, identify and control traffic, and control bandwidth utilization, so that there is more priority and available bandwidth for educational purposes than non-educational things like Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter. Therefore, teachers and students will have the consistently speedy and reliable network performance they need to receive full benefit of their mobile learning tools.
WAN optimization can help prioritize and accelerate learning and administrative applications across educational networks to help schools and universities deliver consistent application performance and improve bandwidth utilization.
If your school or university is getting ready to implement BYOD or a 1:1 initiative you should incorporate network security and WAN performance management into your plan for BYOD infrastructure on your school wireless network.
At SecurEdge, we are experts in building completely secure wireless networks for BYOD. We incorporate the latest in next generation security and WAN performance management tools for complete WAN optimization. If you have any questions or would like a free consultation with one of our mobility experts you can contact us here. You can also download our Free School Wireless Networks Design Guide as a great free resource. Good luck!