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Education Demands All-Mobile, All-Consuming, All-Connected

by Heitor Faroni
woman using mobile tablet payments online shopping and icon customer network connection on screen, pay all, m-banking and omni channel

 

It’s true—they’re everywhere, students and teachers, smartphones and tablets, computers and smart boards. Large and small campuses alike are abuzz in a frenzy of activities and in today’s world that means demand for connectivity. It also means that campus networks are bowing under the pressure created by student and teacher BYOD and the need for more and more, and better and better connectivity. And, don’t even get me started on the security issues.

But let’s take a breath, slowdown and figure out what you really need.

Students are tech-savvy and the demand for social media, interacting with friends and family and participating in groups is real. You need to address the challenges that lots of old and many new devices bring. You also need to deliver a user experience that won’t cause the masses to riot. That means your wireless network needs to provide high-performance, be reliable, secure and of course, manageable. Having these things under control will make everyone’s life a whole lot more pleasant.

 

Scream connectivity, whisper security

Whether it’s a large campus or a smaller school environment, users need to move around—a lot—without losing coverage or having to repeatedly reconnect. A WLAN that recognizes users wherever they are, no matter what device they are on, is key to their mobility.

In addition to keeping users connected, controlling who gets access to what, is essential. A “bring-your-own” policy together with security policies will help you manage user access and devices. For example, administrative staff may need to connect to back-office functions, while students will not have access to these services.

Today data breaches are a reality in every segment of society. Securing campus data is foundational to any network decision. Maintaining confidentiality and security of student data is paramount. Security that is built-in to the Wi-Fi network architecture can provide an additional layer of protection, making it as difficult as possible for cyber attackers to access information.

 

Keep management simple

IT teams in the education sector handle a range of issues from student inquiries, to provisioning services, to large strategic projects such as system upgrades and new deployments. Administrative, routine management that can be handled by the WLAN can help lessen your IT team’s load.

When it comes to network management, if you are a smaller campus, a Wi-Fi solution that lets you manage access points directly from your web browser is what you are looking for. Access points that can be automatically added with simple set up to identify who can have access, when, where and for how long, is ideal.

For larger, multi-site campuses, unified network management that lets you manage both your LAN and WLAN with a single dashboard, eases day-to-day operations. It provides smart analytics on network activity, to support better decisions from an operation’s and security point of view. It lets you manage access for students and staff, and automatically and securely on-board devices, and it lets you scale quickly.

 

The right WLAN for your campus

No matter the size of your campus, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar WLAN product line offers an easy-to-use enterprise-grade solution at an affordable price. From entry-level, to high-range, indoor and outdoor, our access points address your needs campus-wide. The distributed intelligent architecture lets you control access points to ensure better coverage, better bandwidth allocation, and a better user experience.

“Things” (IoT) are now managing operational functions from heating to lighting, to security systems and entry controls. Additionally, IoT containment makes it easy to create virtualized function-specific networks. For example, you can create a network for devices used exclusively by students, a security network for cameras, access control and intrusion detection, another network to support facilities, as well as an administration network. Although they use the same physical network infrastructure, they are securely separated from each other, minimizing the reach and effectiveness of cyber attackers.

 

Learn more about Stellar WLAN solutions for education.  ALE is working with education professionals all over the world to transform research, communication and collaboration for schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions.

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