The growth of modern technology has had a major impact over the last couple of decades in education, especially at the higher-ed level. Among the K-12 ranks, however, there remains some room for improvement. With a little extra focus on network optimization, America’s school districts could provide strong wireless internet access for everyone, thus dramatically improving both 1:1 and classroom learning.
Mind you, most kids are doing just fine when it comes to reliable internet access at school. According to the annual “State of the States” report released recently by EducationSuperHighway, schools in America today spend a total of $2.9 billion on Wi-Fi access, an increase of nearly 100% since 2015. At this point, about 98% of all school districts in the United States are meeting the FCC’s minimum standard for connection speed. But that raises a critical question – is 98% really good enough? That figure may sound high but, as EducationSuperHighway also pointed out, that still means 2.3 million students are without access.
“This year’s State of the States report clearly shows that state leaders have made extraordinary progress elevating the classroom experience for our kids,” said Evan Marwell, the organization’s founder and CEO. “Despite the incredible success bringing high-speed broadband to our classrooms, we can’t stop here. Millions of students in school districts across the country still need us to prepare them to compete in today’s technology-driven world.”
So what’s holding school districts back from achieving their full network potential? There are a variety of factors that can come into play, but the problem usually boils down to some combination of these four.
- Dealing with more devices: Do you have any idea how many devices people use today? According to Hospitality Wi-Fi, the average student or staff member in a school now uses 3 or more. Building a high-speed network that can handle all that traffic is a tremendous challenge.
- The growing BYOD trend: It would be bad enough if schools only had to worry about the devices they were curating themselves, but when you add “bring your own device” (BYOD) into the mix, things only get more complicated. How do you administrate network access and handle IT service requests with devices you don’t even control?
- Challenges with managing access: Who has authorization to connect to your network? From where, and using what devices? There are all sorts of questions you need to figure out, and they’re especially complicated in a school setting. Students, teachers and higher-up staff members all need to be given different levels of access.
- Implementing the right network: It’s hard to find the perfect wireless network to set your school district up for success. You can’t go with just any platform – you need one that’s scalable to fit the needs of your personnel, and at the right price point to fit your budget. This isn’t always easy, and it’s common for IT administrators to look at all the options and feel overwhelmed.
That’s a lot of challenges to worry about – but there is some good news. In Zones, you have a business partner who will help you find the perfect wireless network for your school district. We offer a wide range of Managed Wi-Fi Services that include all the ongoing maintenance and monitoring help you’ll need, all for one manageable per-device fee each month. Let us free you from the burden of managing your network, and then you’ll be able to focus on what you do best – empowering students to reach their full potential.
Want to know more about the Network Optimization services we can deliver? You’re in the right place. Keep reading.