How online infrastructure enhancements can help education

As educational institutions rush to maintain effectiveness, certain network infrastructure considerations must be met. 

By Max Burkhalter
February 6, 2018

Education remains one of the most important pursuits on the planet. The great equalizer, education can determine how open a child's future is, what level of income he or she will make and the overall quality of life that can be expected.

Like any other industry, education has had to adapt to the ever-increasing pace of technological advancement. This has placed even more pressure on educators and administrators to teach effectively with the best tools available. As schools and other academic institutions continue to rush to maintain effectiveness, certain network infrastructure considerations must be met. These range from minor upgrades to major construction overhauls.

The need for fiber
While Ethernet and Wi-Fi are both effective tools at communicating internet signals, Education Superhighway stressed the need for fiber-optic cables to improve online connectivity. A typical school network works by routing the internet signal to a district office, typically the provider of the wide area network. From there, online connectivity is dispersed to various nearby schools - each with a local area network.

These buildings may be far away from one another so preserving quality matters. Fiber is designed to deliver broadband internet connection quality with dependable stability. For some remote regions, a fiber-to-fiber media converter may be needed. This hardware can boost multimode fiber signal by nearly 100 miles. These media converters also act as connection monitors, pinpointing the location of errors and allowing IT staff to quickly correct any problems that occur with the network connection.

Building a modern school
Old school buildings were not designed with the internet in mind. Even structures completed over a decade ago could not predict that rapid implementation of internet of things-enabled devices. Internet Society stressed that some educational institutions may need a redesign focused on empowering online learning. This upgrade should take into account not just the room needed to run fiber or Ethernet cables and the numerous outlets required to connect each piece of hardware, but the need for a stronger, stable electrical current as well.

Surge protectors are going to become even more important as more dependence is placed on power needs. A specialized product like a DT-LAN-CAT6 Surge Protector will help prevent costly overheating. It, like similar products, has been designed for 10GB data speeds and can function with a category 6 high-speed data network.

Modern classrooms like these may lack the needed utilities to ensure uninterrupted network connectivity. Modern classrooms like these may lack the needed utilities to ensure uninterrupted network connectivity.

The essential firewalls
With every student going online, a huge emphasis must be placed on cybersecurity. Irresponsible network protections could expose the confidential information of not just staff but many young kids. Encryption, multiple layers of passwords and restricted access to parts of the network are all needed. Furthermore, schools must possess online access that can be easily monitored. Potential cyber breaches become more serious when an IT specialist cannot quickly access and correct network problems.

Perle has designed software and hardware to streamline the idea of remote management, allowing one IT team to monitor several school's networks. While this helps correct basic maintenance issues like overheating and cycle reboots, it can also give this staff more warning if any unauthorized access is siphoning off the network.

Enabling IoT learning
Smartphones and tablets are never leaving schools but even more IoT tech is on the way. Ed Tech Magazine focused on the Muse as one device. Muse is a primitive neural headband that can be used to track the brain's condition and could tell teachers exactly when students are paying attention and when their minds start wandering, allowing lessons to be designed in much more engrossing ways.

This tech is one of likely a dozen peripherals that will enter certain educational institutions within the next few years. Each one will increase bandwidth demand and create a greater need for robust online infrastructure. Schools must design new facilities to meet the needs several years down the road and not the current tech landscape.

Students and teachers will have to juggle an increasing number of IoT-enabled devices. Knowing how to properly utilize them will greatly affect performance.Students and teachers will have to juggle an increasing number of IoT-enabled devices. Knowing how to properly utilize them will greatly affect performance.

As more educational venues continue to incorporate IoT-optimized technology, administrators and decision-makers will need to review their investment strategy to ensure that they remain at the forefront of effective education. Perle provides the hardware to enable the critical network infrastructure required for uninterrupted data streaming and monitoring. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help your school meet the technological challenges of the 21st century.

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