Education has shifted from analog to digital-based solutions, and keeping up has become a major differentiator in scholastic results.
In fact, the very nature of how knowledge itself is passed on has changed. And falling behind in a connected world, particularly in those formative K-12 years, can have dramatic effects long afterward.
A recent study from Michigan State University on the consequences of homes with limited or no internet access found that students “perform lower on a range of metrics, including digital skills, homework completion, and grade point average. They are also less likely to intend on completing a college or university degree. A deficit in digital skills compounds many of the inequalities in access and contributes to students performing lower on standardized test scores, such as the SAT, and being less interested in careers related to science, technology, engineering, and math”
Now expand that out to a whole school or an entire district that’s operating with inadequate networks and ponder the impact to those kids.
The good and bad news is that CommScope®, owners of RUCKUS® Networks, noted that while 80% of schools cite institution-wide network coverage, it’s actually inadequate for more advanced digital curricula and tools.
What’s the answer?
Remove the roadblock and transform your school’s network into a faster, more reliable and scalable one with RUCKUS. Their robust product line of solutions includes:
- Network switches
- Access points
- Network controllers
- Cloud-managed systems
- Network analytics and assurance
- Internet of Things (IoT) networking
- Network access and policy
- CBRS LTE
As a school looking to beef up your network, you’ll want to focus on those top two.
A network switch is essentially what connects the devices on your network — wireless access points, computers, printers, servers and whatever else can connect.
The switch is what allows these disparate devices to “talk” to each other, send data packets and share information, in other words, you can think of it as what creates a network. Not to be confused with a router that connects networks to other networks.
Network ethernet switches are mission-critical for a school district or campus and come in three types:
- Access Switches — This switch interacts with the end devices in your school, the aforementioned computers, printers, etc., and connects them to the network.
- Aggregation Switches — Also known as distribution switches, these aggregate, or bring together, the various network connections and their traffic from the access switch layer and operate as something of a bridge to the core switch.
- Core Switches —This is where all the aggregation switches lead – the aggregator of aggregators – and is the gateway out to the internet. These high-capacity switches are at the physical core of your network and function as the backbone.
RUCKUS notes that their core switches: “... are designed to meet the most demanding enterprise requirements. They deliver non-blocking line-rate performance on all ports concurrently, with a switching capacity up to 6.4 Tbps, supporting the next generation Ethernet speeds with 10/25 Gigabit Ethernet at the aggregation and 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet to meet high volume of traffic driving from the edge into the core.”
Not every school or district needs all three though. So, while network switches are imperative the configuration you choose must genuinely meet your needs.
From there it’s about the wireless access points that connect the devices to your newly improved network.
Wireless Access Points (WAPs)
We’ve already gone deep on these, and Beamflex in particular, so we’ll be brief here.
A wireless access point, or WAP, is a piece of hardware that allows WI-FI-enabled devices – phones, TVs, Chromebooks, printers, etc. – to connect to a wired network.
RUCKUS has a wide range of both indoor and outdoor access points and accessories to cover your whole campus; from the classroom to the car park. (Yep, we know it’s a British thing and no one calls it a “car park” here… just worked with the wording.)
They can also help you plan your Wi-Fi to ensure the blanket of coverage covers the total footprint of your school.
Significantly, in independently-validated tests “RUCKUS was the only vendor able to simultaneously deliver stall-free streaming HD video to every client and support a “good” (4 out of 5) voice mean opinion score (MOS), while delivering as much as twice the throughput.”
Not bad, huh?
Pulling ourselves out of the weeds here... at the end of the day the question that matters most is this: Is your network facilitating success or an obstacle to it?
If it’s the latter, it’s time to consider upgrading and equipping your students and teachers with the tools they need to succeed.