With the school year coming to a close, IT departments will be hard at work maintaining and improving for next year. One of the main culprits of a poor performing IT department at a K-12 school or district is the way in which mobile devices are used and the way in which the wireless network is deployed.
There are a number of reasons why a WiFi network at your school may not be performing optimally. An outdated WLAN design, poor planning, or limited resources are just a few of the factors that may be hindering network speeds, and, therefore, staff and student productivity.
The good news is that even small IT departments can make changes that will improve the on-site wireless experience throughout the school.
The Current State of Play At Your School
A WLAN design older than four years is generally considered to be out-of-date by industry standards. This means that your network may not be able to support the latest tech, causing problems for teachers and students, whose use of devices in schools is increasing.
As more parents, teachers, and students see the advantages of devices in schools, the number of devices being brought into schools is also growing and increasing use of IT in schools is having an impact on network speeds.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) gathering speed – that figure is set to increase significantly – as any one student could be wearing wireless earphones, a fitness tracker, or even an internet connected hoodie.
Even if you have a new or fairly new WLAN design, if it’s not optimized or making the most of available software and applications, your network may be handicapped.
Is your network suffering from:
- Out of date infrastructure, such as APs, switches, and firewalls
- Out of date RF design that is built for coverage but not capacity
- Out of date software
- An inability to support the latest device capabilities
- An inability to support the growing numbers of devices
- Poor performance with bandwidth-draining applications, such as video streaming and online testing en masse
To create a faster and more robust wireless network in either scenario, make key improvements with an experienced wireless solutions provider.
In the meantime, here are some things you should consider if you want to improve your IT department.
1. The Physical Environment
Physical challenges that affect your school’s WiFi quality include:
- The size of the building
- The type of building or room (e.g. auditorium, dorm, library)
- What the building is made of
- Obstacles to the signal, such as trees, walls, and other buildings
- and more.
In general, to make improvements to your WiFi, you should aim to choose a central location, above floor level, and aim to remove or limit any physical obstructions.
2. The Device Mix
The performance of a network depends on the types of devices that are accessing it. There are differences not only between computers, smartphones, and tablets, but the different makes and models too.
It’s possible to optimize your network in areas where one kind of device is used predominantly. Changing the channel or updating your firmware or network adapter driver can lead to positive results.
3. Access Points
To improve performance, make your access points in rooms rather than in hallways. This may avoid interference, as well as make the AP closer to low-power devices such as smartphones and tablets. In many cases, if you can place access points on the ceiling this will be helpful too.
Improving your K12 school or district is about improving collaboration. IT can help teachers, students, and parents work together. It’s necessary, therefore, to get your IT department working as efficiently as possible.
Get in touch with us today and let us be your guide on how you can use hardware and software to improve your IT department and your K12 school or district.