A school’s connectivity requirements are based on very particular usage patterns. Schools need to take into account not just what’s required to deliver the curriculum, but also the operational and administrative needs of the school. So you want to ensure stable connections and reliable performance – but while staying on budget.
With this in mind, here are five ways to ensure you stay online – without ending up with a needlessly expensive connectivity package.
Assess your needs
Insufficient bandwidth for your needs is likely to result in increased instances of outages – together with sluggish performance. But at the same time, you shouldn’t have to find yourself paying for a level of bandwidth that significantly exceeds your requirements.
To get this balance right, it’s worth looking in detail at your requirements before you start shopping around for suppliers. Assessing these needs can be complex as you need to take into account the effects of a range of different types of activities, from pupil research and use of portable or mobile devices – through to the demands of running a school portal or virtual learning environment (VLE). In terms of logistics, a school consisting of just a few hundred pupils is likely to have very different requirements to a much larger organisation housed across a main block and multiple peripheral buildings. If necessary, get expert input when carrying out this assessment.
Installation of wifi boosters
Boosting your signal is one of the easiest ways of addressing less than optimum wifi speeds and signal dropout. Installing a signal repeater is often the obvious way forward – i.e. adding an extra wireless router to your network.
Consider powerline networking
Powerline networking adapters are fitted with Ethernet ports and they use the existing wiring in your building to transmit WiFi at speeds you would normally expect from a wired network. These can be useful for setting up wireless hotspots with a suitably strong signal in classrooms but for very little outlay.
Look at MIMO access points
Compared to the installation of routers and powerline networking, MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) technology represents the next level of boosting a wifi signal and ensuring connectivity. For this, antenna technology is used to transmit the signal from your router to where it’s needed without delay or disruption. MIMO hardware involves a more substantial outlay than other ways of getting the most out of your connections. However, depending on your needs and setup, it could represent the most cost-effective way forward.
Finally: ensure you are connected for the future
Loss of connectivity has the potential to disrupt both learning and administration throughout a school. Rather than patching up a local connectivity issue with, say, extra routers, it’s often worth taking a step back and working out whether the type of connection package you have in place is still fit for purpose.
Remember that it can be a false economy to spend money on boosting a network if you are due a complete upgrade. With this in mind, it’s worth consulting with a network connectivity IT consultant to consider whether your connectivity setup is the best it can be to meet your future requirements.