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Five ways education technology drives wireless networking in schools

Roger Billings

LTE-enabled solutions empower schools to keep kids safer & better prepared

The rise of K-12 education technology in conjunction with the ever-increasing reliability, performance, agility, and cost-effectiveness of LTE networking is giving schools the green light to expand their capabilities with new, exciting applications each and every year. Wireless WAN connectivity is no longer a luxury for school districts; it’s essential.

With the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2018 event coming up on June 24-27, let’s take a look at five ways that schools are using wireless WANs to efficiently improve the education experience.

School Buses with WiFi & More

One of the most common and beneficial uses of LTE connectivity for K-12 school districts is on buses. With an LTE-based mobile router installed aboard a school bus, students traveling home on their regular route or to and from an out-of-town event can use WiFi to complete homework. Also, studies show that when students have access to WiFi on buses, their behavior improves because they are focusing on educational activities.

LTE makes it possible for a bus driver to alert school administrators and/or stream live surveillance footage back to district headquarters when a dangerous incident is taking place. Secondarily, by having a router on the bus, the district can automatically offload less-essential footage via WiFi the next time the vehicle rolls into the bus barn.

Some fleet managers require in-vehicle connectivity to enable AVL solutions and to reap insight from rich telematics data that can deepen cost-efficiencies. They also use GPS to keep track of where their buses are at all times. Some schools even offer phone apps that show parents and kids where their bus is located at all times.

Main School Building

The drastically differing sizes of school buildings call for purpose-built connectivity solutions. In a small building, an all-in-one router might be perfect for multi-WAN connectivity and seamless failover through a single device. On a much larger campus, the school’s IT team might need a branch continuity solution that converts LTE into an ethernet connection, providing four-nines uptime.

Digital signage is an increasingly common technology at K-12 locations, and not just for the readerboard in front of the main building. Schools are beginning to implement digital signage throughout campuses because the messaging can be adjusted remotely, at a moment’s notice, and without physical intervention. An LTE-enabled IoT router makes it easy to place digital signage anywhere on campus without having to extend fiber or ethernet connections to support the sign.

District IT teams benefit from solutions that also provide Out-of-Band Management capabilities through the cloud, allowing them to use LTE connectivity to remotely access either a primary router or any LAN-connected devices. Remote troubleshooting saves schools the time and expense of physically sending IT specialists to affected sites.

Temporary Classrooms & Portables

Temporary classrooms require connectivity for multiple reasons. For instance, at least once a year, some schools set up makeshift standardized testing areas in gymnasiums and other large spaces. Many school districts are using portables or modular buildings on campus for temporary or even fairly long-term classroom space to address overcrowding. These buildings are usually connected via the existing infrastructure, but when that is too difficult or time consuming, using a LTE or WiFI-as-WAN connection via a router expedites deployment of the portables.

Campus Security

To help keep children safe, some districts install cloud-managed IoT solutions to maintain a constant connection to security cameras. In addition, some districts have their own police force and install mobile routers within their law enforcement vehicles to maintain data and video connectivity between officers and the district.

Special Events

Most schools host dozens of special events throughout the year, including sports, plays, musical performances, and much more. These days the ability to accept credit card payments is essential, so schools need the ability to provide secure and reliable network access for Point-of-Sale (POS) at a moment’s notice.

Learn How K-12 Districts are Using Cloud-Managed LTE

See what’s possible with cloud-managed, all-in-one wired and wireless solutions in K-12 school districts here.