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The importance of network connectivity for schools for thriving in a digital world

December 28, 2021

With COVID-19 being in full force for almost two years now, the education system has been completely turned on its head. Previously content with paperwork and offline methods, schools had to scramble to set up online systems, educate teachers about them, and then clue the students in. 

While many still struggle with the new modus operandi, most educational institutions have adjusted. What’s more, the pandemic has acted as an accelerator for ushering in digital learning- something which was already in motion around the world, albeit slowly and cautiously. 

The importance of network connectivity for schools for thriving in a digital world

However, now that online education is in full swing, those in the academic world can’t help but notice the benefits of a digitally driven environment. Even when schools reopen fully and people return to the campus grounds, the possibilities and avenues opened up by digital learning will continue to be available and only the schools which embrace this change, effectively meshing the offline and online will be able to thrive. During such a transition, network solutions for schools that enable WiFi on school campuses are bound to play a much more crucial role than previously thought.

Consequences of digital ineptitude

As hinted at earlier, most of the schools were in a state of jeopardy when the migration to online tools started. They did not have the infrastructure to deal with the magnitude of a curriculum that was previously executed offline. While many have stabilized, at least a level of the same chaos as before is expected when it comes time to decide how the internet will factor into the school’s learning.

It is at this point that schools will run into a problem that will determine the extent of digital learning that will happen in their institution, namely: networking requirements.

If they haven’t already during the pandemic, the lack of strong WiFi on school campuses will exaggerate the following problems:

  • Issues of accessibility

    Not all members of the student and staff body have the same demographic status to be able to enjoy unhindered and stable access to the internet. Add a school’s unreliable internet infrastructure and issues of accessibility become more pressing. This puts some individuals at a serious disadvantage when compared to others- a situation that shouldn’t be arising when something like education is concerned.For teachers, this looks like being unable to take advantage of professional development tools and teaching materials that the ed-tech industry offers. For students, this looks like missing out on classes, webinars, seminars, and other software that could aid in their career and creative ambitions.
  • Issues of management

  • Without a reliable network solution for school, there is a lack of tools that would greatly aid its administrative and teaching staff. In short, it would miss out on an internal digital revolution that would optimize operations.

  • Redundant and repetitive tasks can either be eliminated or made more efficient so they don’t take up unnecessary time. Communication with parents and students can also be personalized. School runners will be unable to coalesce and properly organize and realize their efforts. School-wide initiatives, competitions, or programs can be efficiently executed like a well-oiled machine. The behind-the-scenes tasks that keep a school running, namely: accounts, events, marketing, PR, student/ staff/ parent care can be optimized with the help of digital tools available that a steady high-speed internet connection brings. 

Network issues that stop schools from thriving

The aforementioned problems are all macroscopic effects that the lack of a sturdy network solution for schools might have. To counteract them, schools will need to get past various problems that might weaken their internet infrastructure, the primary of them being:

  • Deployment

When thinking of bringing an entire school under the ambit of a network solution, things can go south as early as the deployment stages. 

It could be that your network provider has simply suggested a plug-and-play solution that does not cater to the school's personalized needs. Or, the analysis of the physical environment and the access points needed does not match the actual requirements of the school. In some cases, the deployment costs may be high enough that schools decide to pause digital upgradation plans and make do with what they have. 

  • Security issues

These are perhaps the most pressing concerns for any organization aiming for widespread digitization. Even a minor security slip can be fatal and result in the loss of valuable data of students, teachers, staff, and parents which would lead to legal and personal consequences.

Network security is about much more than authentication and authorization. However, with an inadequate infrastructure, security is the first thing to be compromised, effectively bringing down the entire digital ecosystem of the school. 

  • Scalability

A school is no static entity. Hence, it is undeniable that the institution population will grow over the years. To cater to these growing numbers, the network infrastructure will have to adapt as well. 

This need for scalability becomes a problem if the network solution for school is unsuitable for meeting both present and future needs. The result is a necessity of changing the network which disrupts or at the bare minimum, ruffles the school's network setup.

Solving network woes with managed WiFi

The importance of making schools digitally competent cannot be overemphasized since they are the centerpieces of the community and economy. If appropriate network solutions for schools are chosen from the start, there would be no need for them to not thrive in the new digital economy. Managed WiFi is one such solution that has the potential to completely transform the present educational system for the better.

Using Managed WiFi, next-gen hybrid learning technologies can be easily enabled, leading to a safe and intellectually stimulating environment. This environment would be held up by a network service that is equipped to deal with cybersecurity issues and provides campus monitoring along with strong network authentication.

On the economic front, Managed WiFi allows you to balance short-term budget with long-term services and security and reduces the cost surrounding multiple vendors since everything is managed by only one network provider.

Spectra provides bespoke solutions for Managed WiFi that cater to the network needs of schools. The solution comes with a personalized deployment model, network operation support, improved operational efficiency and dependable scalability. 

Additionally, Spectra’s Managed WiFi offers:

  • Low TCO

  • Fully scalable NGFW and optional UTM

  • A scalable storage system 

  • An enterprise-grade SLA 

  • A Pay As You Grow model

To learn more about how Managed WiFi can overhaul your school’s network, reach out to us today.

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