Transforming schools to 21st century teaching and learning requires new methods, tools, training and policies. The explosion of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, and 1:1 computing deployments useful for blended learning, has driven the need for anywhere, anytime connectivity, that you receive from a full wireless network.
It is rare for schools today not to have a wireless network but merely enabling wireless connectivity isn’t the same as deploying a wireless network—especially if you want one equipped for the needs of schools with multiple devices trying to access the internet at one time.
Why is this important?
Wireless networking availability is more important than ever, with schools being asked to handle the influx of wireless devices from students and educators each term. In today’s “always on” world, schools are expected to provide students, faculty and visitors with uninterrupted wireless connectivity throughout their campuses, with many schools needing to scale their wireless access as more connected devices come onto their network.
A modern, secure wireless network that’s user friendly and able to handle the ever-increasing demands of WiFi users can not only make learning even more engaging, but it’s a pre-requisite for schools today.
To fully realise these benefits, careful planning is essential and this should begin with an in-depth wireless assessment.
What will the survey tell you?
A WiFi survey involves the use of specialised hardware and software to measure the signal strength of a current, or proposed WiFi solution in all parts of your site or campus. This can include both internal coverage in classrooms and lesson preparation areas as well as out in the playground, sports field or outdoor student communal areas.
On the most basic level, a WiFi (or heat-map) survey can tell you which Wi-Fi devices your wireless network will support and if it aligns with best practices for the education sector.
Going to the next level, a survey can also examine the architecture, performance, and security of an existing wireless network. This activity helps you gain a full understanding of its strengths and weaknesses and provides the assessor with the information needed to provide a highly customised report with core recommendations for moving forward.
Fast, seemless connections, collaborative learning environments, ‘out of school’ access to lessons —these types of solutions are becoming increasingly popular for day-to-day learning, but they also put a tremendous burden on wireless networks. So knowledge of your network’s abilities is key for staying current.
Also, while wireless networks should provide easy collaboration and communication, they must also remain secure. An experienced assessment service will gauge your wireless network’s readiness for denial of service attacks, reconnaissance attacks, and rogue users. They will also recommend effective security solutions and policies. In addition, an assessment can identify areas with incomplete or poor wireless coverage. Armed with this information, an enterprise can make sure all of its pupils are connected equally.
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At KBR, we understand that every educational establishment is unique. The difference isn’t just in the teaching methods, key stages or financial constraints. A school can be built out of anything from historic solid stone to modern light-weight materials and everything in between.
In our many years in the WiFi industry we have installed wireless solutions from castles to lighthouses and from large-scale city centre universities to small rural schools. This experience provides us with the knowledge to survey and design your WiFi network correctly. Not just for signal coverage but also client density.