IT in education has always been about effectively leveraging technology to provide better learning outcomes for students. However, it’s also about providing secure, reliable access to critical services for faculty and guests.
The landscape has become increasingly complex in recent years, with a huge increase in the number of connected devices. This is partly due to the IoT, but also the result of a growing number of multi-device users. Add to this a set of evolving wi-fi- standards, a dynamic cybersecurity landscape and global pandemic and we have an unusual set of challenges.
When faced with unprecedented circumstances, it often pays to get creative. In the US, where lockdown has prevented primary and secondary school students gaining access to free wi-fi, Extreme Networks has been exploring ways to take the wi-fi to the students.
From installing wi-fi access points on the outside of buildings to parking wi-fi-enabled school buses in urban areas, educators have been thinking outside the box when it comes to providing remote students with secure, reliable access.
For larger, more complex network requirements, schools have explored everything from wide-scale distribution of Chromebooks and Windows laptops to pluggable, enterprise access points. The AP30 (Atom) can be plugged into any power socket and connected via mesh or existing Ethernet points to deliver rapid deployment with minimal installation cost.
Technology has played a critical role in “learning continuity” over the past few months, but not all challenges are associated with distance learning. In a recent webinar “Overcoming the Unique IT Challenges in Education” Extreme Networks featured presentations from two school IT Managers, including Daryl Reseigh, ICT Systems Manager for Eggar’s School in Hampshire.
For Eggar’s, a rural school with around 1,000 students and faculty, the challenge was to introduce new wireless technologies to enable live streaming of content, provide connectivity to outdoor spaces and cope with the influx of student and faculty-owned devices. The flexibility required to provide ubiquitous access needed to be balanced with reliability, security and the ability to manage everything remotely.
For Eggar’s the solution included:
- Bonjour services for apple devices (to allow teachers to wirelessly project content)
- PPSK to cater for BYOD requirements
- Wireless access points in every classroom to increase network capacity
- Additional access points to bring connectivity to outdoor spaces
In addition, ExtremeCloud IQ delivers 24/7 availability and makes remote monitoring and management of the network simple. Resilience has also been improved as there is no longer a single point of failure, helping to ensure quality and continuity of service.
For more information on ExtremeCloud IQ, Alexandra Gates, Director of Product Marketing for Extreme Networks has recorded a live demo of this third generation, end-to-end solution.
As the UK comes out of lock-down, primary and secondary education establishments across the country are looking for new ways to deliver better learning outcomes for students, whilst protecting the more vulnerable members of society. If you’d like to talk to one of our technical consultants about next-generation networking solutions, personal learning, online testing or digital citizenship, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call now on +44 (0)20 7749 0800