Mar 02 2022

Equipping Colleges with Sufficient Network Bandwidth Across Campus

Understanding your school’s technological infrastructure is key to identifying bandwidth needs and implementing their solutions.

An institution’s network bandwidth affects more than the speed of a Netflix stream. It determines how many teachers and students will be able to teach and learn concurrently, without any unwanted technological disruptions. As such, reliable internet connection is more than a nice-to-have option. With the increasing prevalence of hybrid and online classes being taken by on-campus students, stable Wi-Fi is a necessity, making campus bandwidth sufficiency a high priority for colleges and universities.

Bandwidth Solutions Are Unique to a School’s Infrastructure

When it comes to network modernization, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each school has a unique and established technological infrastructure, and any distinctive obstacles that may arise amid the endeavor to update the network will also be exclusive to this infrastructure. Because of this, the required network bandwidth solutions will likewise be unique to the school’s technological setup. That said, the approach to identifying the network needs and their solutions is easily transferable from school to school.

Knowing you want faster, more stable connectivity is one thing. Knowing exactly how fast and how stable you want the connection to be is another. Determining this from the outset will help you avoid upgrades that equip you for 4G LTE when you actually need 5G or Wi-Fi 6 speeds.

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It’s not enough to know that the technology is outdated. It’s imperative to know the exact specifications of the tech being used. Similarly, it’s important to know how your IT department is positioned to attend to the system should there be a failure, as well as what systems specific IT members are and are not well versed in and comfortable operating.

Understanding your university’s bandwidth and technology requirements can be made simple with a partner like CDW•G. Through our network assessment services, we can help evaluate your existing environment and take your goals into account to better understand how to build the appropriate design for your university.

After the assessment, you’ll be well equipped to choose a solution by evaluating offerings from ArubaCiscoJuniper NetworksExtreme Networks and other core enterprise infrastructure companies that have expanded their portfolios with cloud-based Wi-Fi solutions. Knowing your goals and your current setup, we can help you identify the unique solutions that can bridge the gap between your current situation and your desired destination.

After the appropriate solution has been chosen, all that’s left is the implementation. This alone can be an elaborate process, but CDW•G is prepared to help — just like when we teamed up with Aruba to upgrade the network at Kent State University. We’re able to serve as a backbone infrastructure to keep your institution up and running during the transition, for which we can establish a phased approach — providing workers with the right skill sets to ensure that all the windows framed out as part of the schedule are hit accordingly.

DISCOVER: How network upgrades enable universities to accelerate research.

Long-Term Solutions, Not Temporary Fixes

It’s no secret that campuswide network modernization can be costly, but that’s no reason to spend money on temporary fixes that will only result in you repeating this process. Such fixes need frequent updates, and that can cost you even more money in the long run.

Be open to swallowing the costs of an upgrade that will last for three to five years. While this means more money up front, it may cost fewer financial and staffing resources overall. Manufacturers may even offer extensive discounts on required maintenance when you commit to a long-term solution.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

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