School’s in session, but is your network ready?

For students, teachers, administrators and others involved in the education sector, this season means one thing: back to school. As parents make efforts to prepare their children to return to classes, educators are working to ensure that the school and its resources are ready for the months ahead. And one of the most important assets here is the school’s network.

With students flocking to classrooms across the country, administrators must ask themselves, “Is the network ready?”

Technology becoming increasingly critical in the classroom

Classroom learning has changed considerably in the past few years. Text and workbooks have been replaced with laptops and tablets, and the chalkboard of yesteryear is more often a whiteboard or smartboard that enables more creative, collaborative learning.
As technological assets like these become increasingly important to daily lesson plans and the overall curriculum, the network that underpins these assets is an even more paramount resource to have in place.

Having technology like this in the classroom comes with numerous benefits, including:

  • Better preparing students for life after the bell rings. In most careers, students will have to utilize some type of technology, and it’s best if they are familiar with the usage of these systems.
  • Supporting different learning styles. Students who find understanding through visual materials, audio recordings or more kinetic learning can all benefit from technology in the classroom. What’s more, teachers are now able to reach all types of learners through an array of learning materials.
  • Access to the most recent information. No more outdated textbooks here – students can now take advantage of the most up-to-date materials possible, including digital textbooks that are continually being updated.

The network architecture: Understanding your needs

Before administrators can take steps to ensure the preparedness of their networks, they must understand how this system works.

Education SuperHighway noted that the typical school district network includes three critical components. Taking a top-down view, the network begins with the internet service provider, who ensures that connectivity is available and students and teachers will be able to access the internet. This internet connection enables the creation of wide area and local area networks. A wide area network is more far-reaching, encompassing connections between different district locations and campuses. A local area network, on the other hand, includes the wired and Wi-Fi connections of a particular school or district office.

Prepping the network for success

In order to make the best use of these resources, it’s important that administrators and IT staff take steps to ensure the network is ready for the influx of users headed its way. EdTech noted that there are a few essential efforts that can be made here, including:

  • Testing network functionality to help guarantee that devices will be able to connect and that online content loads and operates correctly.
  • Considering how new technology will affect the network ahead of time. For instance, an increase in mobile devices like laptops can significantly affect bandwidth usage.
  • Double-checking available network capacity. This will help ensure that each student has the same experience with tech-based programs, and that no one gets kicked off the network in the middle of a lesson.
  • Ensuring security. The internet can represent the Wild West in terms of threats, and guaranteeing the safety of students is paramount in every school.

Top-notch network protection: Partner with an expert

Network security is something that must be a top priority within every institution – all the way from early to higher education. What’s more, it’s not just about protecting the students. Your school’s network represents a critical resource that requires its own safeguards as well.

For these reasons, it’s absolutely essential that schools partner with an expert that can help them leverage best-in-class tools to secure their network. Untangle has everything your institution needs to ensure top-notch network protection, and has experience working with an array of different educational organizations.

For more information, check out our case studies and contact Untangle today.