Sep 29 2021

Six Things to Consider Before Implementing Wi-Fi 6 in a K–12 Setting

Before adopting lightning-fast Wi-Fi 6, K–12 IT leaders should consider these questions when planning for budget, deployment and ongoing support.

1. What should an effective deployment plan include?

First, decide which areas of your district will need Wi-Fi 6 performance and which can do without. Communicate with key stakeholders, such as administrators, teachers and other network users, to define who gets Wi-Fi 6 on the first installment of service.

2. Does it make sense to upgrade all at once?

While some organizations might go for a “rip and replace” plan that upgrades everything to Wi-Fi 6 all at once, this isn’t advisable. Wi-Fi 6 is still in the early stages of deployment, and so are compatible devices and routers. A slower, phased rollout will help avoid glitches. Plus, few school districts can afford a full Wi-Fi 6 implementation.

3. How do we ensure that we don’t lose network strength?

A network site survey will help identify the outermost periphery of access points that you want Wi-Fi 6 services to reach. If these APs are placed too far apart, you will likely lose Wi-Fi 6 network strength. However, if the endpoint periphery is placed too close, you will waste Wi-Fi 6 resources.

4. Can we integrate older devices with this new technology?

If you limit the number of devices getting a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade, there will be some degradation on the Wi-Fi 6 network, which will need to “dial down” in order to work with older, incompatible devices. Plan to provision the most throughput to high-demand, real-time applications, such as online interactive content and video.

5. How do we minimize glitches?

There are bound to be glitches with new technology. It’s paramount to have strong vendor partners that will be available when you need them. Your request for proposal should include not only the hardware and software you want to purchase, but also the level of implementation support you want the vendor to provide.

READ THE WHITE PAPER: Networks evolve to support a changing world.

6. How can we ensure optimal security?

As you upgrade your network and add Wi-Fi 6 equipment, most of these devices and routers will come with security presets that are less robust than what your own internal network security standards require. As a first out-of-the-box step, your network technicians should review all of these router and device security presets and adjust them as needed so they meet your IT security standards and minimize the chances of a security breach.

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