Educating the masses has come a long way from one-room schoolhouses and eraser clapping. Now, in today’s IT-driven educational sphere, the way in which the world’s youth learns and grows is largely defined by the technological opportunities that are available. When connectivity is rich and innovative applications are at the ready, a whole new world is opened to the contemporary student — including exceptional remote learning programs, virtual and augmented reality software, interactive or adaptive lessons and more. In fact, worldwide spending on EdTech is forecasted to rise dramatically by 2025, with augmented and virtual reality spending alone exhibiting a predicted increase from $1.6 billion in 2018 to $12.6 billion.
Unfortunately, while educational technology races ahead in its innovation, its availability and workability still hinge on educational institutions’ infrastructure, which can often be limited and outdated. Nobody should be held back by a lack of proper foundations — but luckily, network providers are on a mission to ensure all students and administrators can leverage the tools they need to take learning to the next level.
What’s In a Network?
As IT grows as a central pillar of business, healthcare, education, government and beyond, the pursuit of augmented networks remains strong across the board. In this mission to improve underlying infrastructure, the necessities are largely consistent as well: capacity, speed, scalability and reach.
The added capacity is crucial for supporting massive amounts of new data being generated from the cutting-edge applications, personal devices and platforms in use, and increased speed is vital for ensuring these new capabilities can function well. Scalability in the network helps future-proof for ongoing evolution, ensuring students can keep pace with new technologies and gain access as they arise. Meanwhile, more robust geographic reach helps connect remote students, disparate campus locations, and more as education seeks to connect a greater number of students and administrators to the IT solutions they rely on.
However, when it comes to educational networking in particular, there are a few unique considerations that can make network build-outs — and selecting the partners that accomplish them — a bit tricky. To start, budgets are being squeezed. Programs like E-Rate are helping close the financial gap for in-need schools and libraries, but remaining conscious of cost is a big priority in this segment. Security is also a high priority, as students’ data can often contain sensitive information. Keeping this information under careful watch and ensuring it is safe from malefactors is key.
Every educational institution now demands access to the right fiber optic solutions in order to offer the best to their pupils — but getting affordable bandwidth with a comprehensive network topology can seem like a tall order. So, what’s the best way to ensure the infrastructure supporting new demands is as powerful and cost-effective as it can be?
Putting the Right Solutions in Place
The best thing any educational institution can do as they embark on a digital transformation is select the right partners. Picking a network architect that’s experienced with the unique needs of educational networks — and every consideration that comes with that territory — is the ideal way to ensure all boxes are being checked now and into the future.
Questions to ask as you select a network partner include: Does this partner offer flexibility to align with my needs? Do they cater to point-to-point and point-to-multipoint connectivity requirements, as well as support dedicated IP addresses to help manage network efficiency and speed? Do they have familiarity with programs like E-Rate to ensure the process can go smoothly from planning to building to completion?
As an E-Rate partner and a trusted network professional with decades of experience empowering education with powerful infrastructure solutions, Horizon is ready to meet the needs of today’s learning and tomorrow’s opportunities. Horizon customizes the networks for all needs, delivering the high speeds, low latencies, reliability, security and scalability educational institutions need, along with 24/7/365 local support to ensure students never miss a beat.
To learn more about how Horizon can support your educational IT transformation, click here.