Wi-Fi and the internet are not yet “assured resources.” Some 23.5 million students in the U.S. need improved access to the internet and digital learning, according to the 2022 Report on School Connectivity. This means that a third of school districts face challenges in these areas.
In an era where digital literacy is common currency, schools that can’t provide reliable access to the internet and Wi-Fi-dependent devices are going to have a hard time meeting their educational goals. Let’s look at some specifics and at a few actionable steps to take to protect a school’s operations.
Life without reliable internet connectivity and Wi-Fi
Unreliable connectivity presents itself in a number of ways, including dead zones, dropped signals and long buffering times. For educators who often utilize the internet and Wi-Fi as part of lesson plans, these issues can result in:
- Students unable to complete classwork
- Lesson plans that must be adapted on a moment’s notice
- Lack of access to online resources such as research tools, educational games, supplemental materials, videos, and more
- Students unable to learn tech-related skills and digital literacy
- Difficulties communicating with parents
These are frustrating problems for all. Even if issues only last minutes, no one wants to face those kinds of disruptions—especially if you never know when they will strike and how long they will last. Will one or two students be impacted or entire classrooms? How much does it delay learning? Do issues happen during online testing, raising everyone’s stress levels and harming student achievement?
These are not good or acceptable outcomes and schools are actively working to make them unthinkable on any campus. To do this, they are working to make the Wi-Fi and the internet assured resources—resources that are always available to support every need, every student, every teacher, and all staff members. Here’s a look at how they’re doing it.
How schools can lock in a Wi-Fi network that supports education
Schools that have prioritized reliable Wi-Fi and significantly reduced problems and resolution times all have:
- Supported IT professionals: IT teams work incredibly hard and diligently to keep school networks, with hundreds or thousands of devices, working optimally. Supporting them with automated tools and solutions helps to relieve their workload while making troubleshooting and optimization easier.
- Complete network visibility: Internet and Wi-Fi problems can have innumerable root causes. IT must have complete network visibility to be able to identify these causes and eliminate issues.
- Real-time issue alerts: With real-time alerts, IT can begin to solve problems immediately, sometimes before teachers and students are even affected. If the automatic alert tool or solution also identifies root causes and provides analyzed data, resolution time is significantly reduced.
- Historical analytics: These analytics give IT visibility into what happened on a network when staff wasn’t onsite—whether because of remote location, evening event, travel, etc. They also provide long-term behavioral and performance insights, boosting decision-makers’ ability to predict what upgrades the network needs to stay reliable, future-proofed, and budget-friendly.
- Remote troubleshooting: Many IT professionals are responsible for multiple schools. Remote troubleshooting makes it possible for them to resolve issues from anywhere at any time. This not only cuts down on travel time and costs, it also saves IT from having to work in busy locations to resolve problems—i.e., they don’t have to interrupt classroom time or try to reach devices in auditorium ceilings or stadium storage rooms.
Assured resources: Choosing the right tools and solutions
Automation is a key recommendation. With this feature, IT teams have technology on their side that analyzes networks 24/7, ensuring teams always have the most up-to-date insights into real user experience.
Schools can choose between individual tools or all-in-one Wi-Fi automation solutions. Wi-Fi automation solutions perform the above tasks, in addition to others, and are vendor agnostic, delivering long-term support to schools. When researching technologies, be sure to ask for demos and the length of any trial period.