Around this time every year, the flurry of back-to-school prep begins. As students are gathering their supplies and readying themselves for another year of education, schools and educational institutions are preparing to support these students as well. In a world where digital-centric opportunities are vast and far-reaching, one of the most important questions an educational institution can ask is this: Is my network foundation strong enough for what’s ahead?
Not only is the worldwide e-learning market expected to surpass $243 billion this year, but more digital tools, platforms, devices, and beyond are being employed on school grounds — making a robust network infrastructure absolutely essential for students, teachers and administrators alike.
To ensure educational opportunities are being properly enriched and students are being empowered with access to tools that can accelerate their schooling experiences, here are some key considerations educational institutions should be taking into account for the new school year.
It’s All About Capacity
With both student and teacher devices on the network, as well as online tools being employed both in and out of classrooms to help teach complex concepts and topics, the amount of data running through the pipes at schools is exploding. Educational institutions need a network that can not only handle high levels of capacity but can do it with the speed and reliability needed to keep experiences seamless and suitable for the learning environment.
Fiber optics and trusted Ethernet services are excellent assets for all these needs, as they ensure the network is capable of handling more data, supporting more advanced applications and retaining reliability and speed all at once. Utilizing strong Ethernet means that the network will cover the entire area of the school reliably, securely and with steady, highly capable speeds, and a sturdy base of pure fiber means that your network will be less vulnerable to interruptions. Together, these solutions make a pretty powerful pair that any institution should look to leverage.
Centralize Your Processes
Managing needs across an entire school network can get complicated, especially if satellite campuses or multi-location schools are in the mix. Administrators and network personnel need a way to easily manage and maintain a system — especially since network evolutions are always ongoing in order to promote advanced learning. This means that changes can be made across the network and visibility across the entire footprint must be accessible through a single, easy-to-use pane of glass.
Software-defined networking (SD-WAN) is emerging as a valuable tool for schools because of the needs referenced above. SD-WAN lowers complexity and makes maintaining, adjusting and troubleshooting across the network easier than ever by centralizing management of the infrastructure footprint. With this solution in place, users and network administrators can easily oversee usage and manage the school’s connectivity with intuitive dashboards that are capable of making decisions and change remotely — instead of making all upgrades happen at the hardware level across the entire campus. This makes any educational institution more agile and enables them to keep ahead of the network needs of its students and users.
Look for Network Partnerships
At the end of the day, success at the network level comes down to having trusted expert partnerships on hand. When needs are becoming more complex and demands are growing more intense by the day, no institution should have to go it alone — which means service quality and customer experience are paramount.
At Horizon, our experience with K-12 school network design and solutions is ideally suited for any and all challenges that face educational institutions. We are able to meet unique requirements for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint connectivity, as well as the need for dedicated IP addresses to help manage network efficiency and speed — all while remaining flexible.
We’re dedicated to being that trusted partner for mission-critical educational needs, and we have a proven record of delivering the high speeds, low latencies, reliability, security and scalability that students, teachers and administrators all rely on. Not to mention, we offer 24/7/365 local support to boot.
To learn more about our education-specific networking solutions, click here. To see how we’ve empowered other institutions, check out one of our case studies here.